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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.
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. For now, check out the Other Genres forum. 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?
Yes, and pre-November planning is encouraged. Just remember that whatever you do before November can't count toward your word count.
Can I really write about anything I want?
Yes. The OLL staff won't screen your novel for content at all. In fact, they won't even see your novel. All validating is done by computer.
Can I make pop culture references/use things protected by copyright in my novel?
Yes. NaNoWriMo doesn't screen your novel for content.
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 profile information from year to year?
When the new site goes up, you will lose your post count, your word count from the previous year, any NaNoMail over a year old, and the "Years Participated" and "Years Won" setting in your profile. You'll also lose your novel info, including your synopsis, book cover, word count, and excerpt, to make way for the new year's novel. 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.
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.
How do I add an image to my signature?
First, choose your image. Then upload it to a host that allows hotlinking such as Photobucket, Tinypic, Imgur, or your own website. Visit My NaNoWriMo when logged in and edit your signature with the following:
<img src="IMG URL" />
You can also link the image somewhere. To do this, add
<a href="YOUR LINK"> before the image HTML and
</a> after the image HTML.
Am I a rebel?
If you are not starting a new project, 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! We accept you rebels, and you even have your own forum, so it's all good.
Can I block or ignore a user?
You can't block a user throughout the entire forum, but you can block a user to avoid receiving NaNoMail from them after receiving a message. Just open the message and click "Block NaNoMail from this user" next to the sender's name. Be warned: it is difficult to reverse this action, so do so only if you're really sure.
Where are my writing buddies? I don't see all of them in my profile.
The writing buddies section of your profile displays the first fifty of your buddies by registration date. Before October 2010, this section displayed only the first eleven, so this is a great improvement! If you have more than fifty writing buddies, you can access all of your buddies by going to the Writing Buddies section under My NaNoWriMo.
If not all of your writing buddies are showing up and you have fewer than fifty buddies, chances are someone hasn't logged in yet this year. Give them time or remind them that NaNoWriMo is here.