NaNoWriMo Success Stories

By , November 10, 2014 3:57 pm

Water for Elephants

Most people are familiar with the popular book and 2011 motion picture Water for Elephants, but not many know that the novel was written during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Author Sara Gruen began with the intention to keep the 1,667 words per day count, but she found that life’s day to day interferences made this difficult. She then decided to write an extremely unedited edition of the book to submit to the program. A few years later she finished the complete manuscript, and after a few attempts to find a publisher, Gruen finally published the bestselling novel in 2006. The thrilling love story of the young veterinarian Jacob Janowski and his time with the Benzini Brother Circus captivated readers, receiving high acclaim and reviews. Shortly after the book’s publishing, the film starring award winning actors Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, and Christoph Waltz hit theaters. Almost four years later, both book and movie are entertaining for all audiences. Gruen’s Water for Elephants success proves that NaNoWriMo can help writers become successful not just through novels, but also through the box office.

The Night Circus

The next success act also revolves around a forbidden love story between two circus performers. As title suggests, the Circus of Dreams only opens at night, keeping the stunning performances’ secret in the shadows. Author Erin Morgenstern began participating in NaNoWriMo in 2003 and every year following for the next six years, but it wasn’t until 2009 that she fully/finally completed the program with The Night Circus. She took the 2010 National Novel Writing Month off and finished the edits to , which was published the following year. The magical plot was picked up by Summit Entertainment not long after The Night Circus’s release and is currently being adapted into a major motion picture. Morgenstern’s tale proves that six grueling years of writing is worth the perseverance to have your words read.


Rainbow Rowell made her success with the widely popular young adult novel Eleanor and Park in February of 2013, but that same year she published her first NaNoWriMo novel Fangirl. Initially, Rowell believed the program was a waste of time for an already published author. However, after deciding to participate, she realized that the competition freed her of first draft anxiety and some of her bad revision habits. Rowell met her 50,000 word count, but the actual plot was not quite done. She continued writing until the story of Cath Avery, her avid love for fan-fiction, and her introverted college experience was completely finished. The NaNoWriMo experience became one of the most inspiring experiences of her life, and pushed her to become an even better writer than she


Water for Elephants, The Night Circus, and Fangirl are just three well known NaNoWriMo novels. Their authors are an example of how one short month can inspire creativity and hard work. Writing is tedious, difficult, and frustrating, but with a little push it can lead you toward a bright future and great success story.



















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