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Unofficial NaNoWriMo FAQ
The NaNoWriMo website has a great and extensive FAQ section. Some questions aren't in the FAQ but get asked often enough that they should be, or there's no official answer to the question in the first place. Sometimes the question is in the FAQ, yet it's still frequently asked in the forums and beyond. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers.
Does this count as a novel?
The NaNoWriMo FAQ defines a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you think you're writing a novel, they do too. This obviously leaves a lot of room for interpretation, especially among people who aren't writing the traditional novel. Generally, if your work is fiction and has some common theme, it can be counted (see short story collections with a common theme as an example). Cobbling a bunch of unrelated works together would not count since the point of NaNoWriMo is to write a long work of fiction. Nonfiction and non-novels make you a NaNo Rebel, but you're still welcome.
Does this count in my word count?
If you typed it in the file (or files) that you're writing your novels in and you wrote it in November, you can include it. This includes your title page, your chapter titles, epilogue, prologue, and of course, the actual prose. If you need it for your novel to make sense, include it in your word count. You probably shouldn't count things that aren't part of your novel like page numbers, which will get stripped out when you put it in the validator. Don't include anything written outside of November. This includes planning.
How do you pronounce NaNoWriMo?
Na-No-Rye-Mo. If you pronounce it Na-No-Ree-Mo, that's okay, too. This used to be in the official FAQ but has been removed.
Why doesn't fanfiction have a genre lounge?
Because fanfiction isn't a genre. The genre of a fanfiction piece is generally considered to be the genre of the original work. Someone usually starts a fanfiction thread in the Other Genres forum early in October, and it's a popular thread. You can also check out the Fans and Critics forum to talk about the original work.
Can I write a sequel to a previously written novel?
Are you writing it from scratch in November? If so, sure.
Can I prewrite/roleplay/plan my novel before November?
Yes, and pre-November planning is encouraged. Just remember that whatever you do before November can't count toward your word count.
When do the forums get wiped? When do the new forums come up?
It varies by year, but the forums get shut down near the end of September each year. The new forums come up at the beginning of October.
Do I lose any of my account information from year to year?
When the new site goes up, you will lose your post count, any NaNoMail over a year old, and the "Years Participated" and "Years Won" setting in your profile. Everything else remains, including your regional settings, the text in your profile, and your signature.
I started a novel in November and didn't like it. Can I still count those words toward my 50K?
Technically, no. It is National Novel Writing Month, after all. That said, there are ways to work those words into your new novel. Maybe it was just a dream, or maybe rocks fell and killed everyone, ushering in your new story. You're creative. Figure it out.