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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 usually include it. This includes your title page, the table of contents, your chapter titles, epilogue, prologue, and of course, the actual prose. You probably shouldn't count things like footnotes, and you can't count the about the author page, as well as a few other things. A full list of what should, shouldn't, and cannot be included in your word count can be in be found the Rules & Regs section of the NaNoWriMo forums.
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 [insert genre here] have a genre lounge? Can a genre lounge be created?
New genre lounges are created infrequently and only with very high demand. This isn't because creating a forum is difficult but to prevent forum clutter and confusion. Chat in the main Genres forum about genres that fall outside of a specific forum. Of note: Lots of popular genres that currently fall into that category have threads. If you're writing in a subgenre of a major genre, there may be a thread for that subgenre in the main genre lounge (for example, steampunk in the fantasy lounge).
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?
Can I really write about anything I want?
Yes. The Powers that Be won't screen your novel for content at all. In fact, they won't even see your novel. All validating is done by computer. You don't have to enter a synopsis or excerpt or even talk about your novel if you don't want to.
Can I make pop culture references/use things protected by copyright in my novel?
Yes. NaNoWriMo doesn't screen your novel for content. Whether you can publish it afterwards is a separate matter, but it shouldn't be a big concern during the first-draft phase of Nano.
When do the forums get wiped? When do the new forums come up?
The Forums are wiped on or about October 1 of each year. The new forums relaunch soon the wiping. There is often some downtime before and during the wiping. In 2012, the whole process occurred over a single day, but earlier years involved the forums being locked for days or weeks during the wiping process.
Do I lose any of my profile information from year to year?
No. As of 2012, information from past years does carry over. You can see your noveling history under the 'Novels' tab. Author info remains in place, as do your regions and time zone.
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.
Can I do Young Writers Program and the main NaNoWriMo program if I'm 13 to 17 years old?
If you want the different resources of the two sites (the ability to chat with younger folks at YWP and chatting with Wrimos of all ages at the main site, for example), then go ahead. Keep in the mind that the Codes of Conduct are stricter at the YWP site.
Am I a rebel?
If you're writing non-fiction, or what you are doing isn't a novel (interconnected short stories are allowed), then yes, you are a rebel. But hey, that's okay! You're still welcome here. You even have your own forum, so it's all good.
Can I block or ignore a user?
On the NaNoWriMo forums, Discourse offers multiple options to mute or ignore another user. Muting a user mutes notifications, @ mentions, or private messages sent from these people. Ignoring a user lets you hide posts, notifications, and private messages from specific users. You can also choose an interval for the Ignore setting to automatically expire, from later today to never expiring. Don't tell someone you are muting or ignoring them; this violates the NaNo Community Guidelines and is generally rude.
- Unofficial Script Frenzy FAQ
- Official NaNoWriMo FAQ (external link)
- Official NaNoWriMo forums FAQ (external link)
- French translation of a previous version of this page, courtesy of the French Wrimos region (external link, en français)