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NaNo Rebel

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A NaNo Rebel is a NaNoWriMo participant who chooses to write something besides a novel of at least 50,000 words from scratch in November. Some NaNo rebels choose to continue a novel by invoking the Zokutou clause, while others wander into the worlds of nonfiction, video games, scripts, and academic writing.


Some examples of rebellion projects done by Wrimos include:

  • Memoirs
  • Nonfiction books
  • Scripts
  • Completing or adding on to previously started works (the Zokutou clause)
  • Graphic novels and other art projects
  • Unrelated fiction writing projects, none of which pass 50,000 words
  • Unrelated short stories (although this is debatable, as some short story anthologies consist of unrelated stories)
  • Blogging
  • World and RPG developing
  • Video game scripts and code
  • Transcribing letters and journals
  • Rewriting and revising old projects
  • Outlines for novels or other projects

Rebels often use Nanowrimo's frantic get-it-done energy to complete projects outside the initial scope intended by Chris Baty when he originally laid out the guidelines. Some even set the same word goal of 50,000 words or an equivalent (for example, an art project might involve 50 pictures). Whether or not to verify their word count and get the winner goodies is up to the rebel--some may choose to do so if they meet their goals, whereas others choose to leave their bars blue/green. While Rebels are acknowledged and welcomed by the OLL, there are no official Rebel-specific website tools or merchandise, the challenge is firmly focused on noveling, and it is recommended that you do the challenge by the rules at least once before being a rebel in order to have the true nanowrimo experience.

It should be noted that the following fall within the guidelines and are not considered Rebel projects:

  • Fanfiction/derivative works (Nano does not rule on the content, as long as it is fiction; in fact, as of 2012 there's a fanfiction forum under Genre Lounges)
  • Fictional memoirs (again, as long as it is (mostly) fictional, it falls within guidelines)
  • Short stories with a common theme/setting/characters (related short stories are often published as anthologies in one book)
  • Rewriting an old work (as long as previously written prose is not used)

Support of Rebellion

OLL is officially equally supportive of both rebels and novelists (like "neutrality" below). The most notable example of its support for rebels is the rebels forum on the NaNo site. Camp NaNoWriMo 2013 introduced additional support for rebels, including flexible word count goals and an option to select a script as a genre (a homage to the retired Script Frenzy). Support for novelists is also existent, such as not providing rebel-related merchandise and making the majority of the site centered around noveling.

The NaNo community falls into a spectrum of:

  • The Novel-Only Extremist: Believes that the rules must be followed and that any breaking of them, however small, should result in immediate disqualification.
  • The Novel Supportive Person: Believes that rule-abiding participants are the best, but willfully tolerates most/all rebelling (or at least willfully pretends to tolerate it) and may even support some forms of it. May support disqualification for a portion of the rebel population, but never all of it.
  • Neutrality: Does not care about rebellion vs. following the rules; equally supports rebels and novelists.
  • The Rebel Supportive Person: Believes that rebels are the best, but respects and tolerates the efforts of novelists.
  • The Rebel-Only Extremist: By far the least popular opinion, this is the belief that only rebels should participate and that any attempt to follow the rules should be punished with immediate disqualification.

In practice, the extremists on both sides are extreme minorities due to Shunning and OLL support of rebels, and the majority of the community is neutral, with significant minorities on both "supportive" sides.

The NaNoWriMo Guerrilla Rebellion

In 2001, when the signup deadline/cutoff came before the end of October, some latecomers to the NaNoWriMo web site declared that they were going to write their novels anyway. They formed a multi-user blog for mutual support and tried their hardest to reach 50,000 words, though only a few succeeded.

The NaNo Rebels forum

The NaNo Rebels forum was formed in 2009 as a space for participants who were bending the rules of NaNoWriMo.

Forum Description

"You're writing a memoir, a script, a nonfiction book about turtles or something else that's not a novel. You're a NaNoRebel, baby! Converse with your fellow outlaws here."

Popular Topics and Threads

  • A reminder to pick up your halo (sticky)
  • "Am I A Rebel?" A Q&A for people to determine whether their project falls within the strict definition of a Nano novel.
  • There are often threads devoted to each kind of rebel project (for example, there is often a central Memoirs thread, a Graphic Novel thread, etc.)


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