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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 in November. Some NaNo rebels choose to revise and edit their novels, while others wander into the worlds of nonfiction, video games, scripts, and academic writing.
Some examples of rebellion projects done by Wrimos include:
- Nonfiction books
- 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)
- World and RPG developing
- Video game scripts and code
- Transcribing letters and journals
- Rewriting and revising old projects
- Outlines for novels or other projects
- Translating works into other languages
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 NaNoWriMo, 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 start-from-scratch 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)
- Writing significantly more than 50k in November (as long as you count only words written in November, you're good)
- Writing multiple novels in November (as long as at least one of those novels passes 50,000 words, you're good)
- Invoking the Zokutou clause by continuing a previously started work (as of 2014 continuing a work is no longer considered rebellion by the official Nanowrimo rules)
Support of Rebellion
NaNoWriMo is officially equally supportive of both rebels and novelists. However, First-time Wrimos are encouraged to do their first Nano by the rules and not rebel, in order to get the classic Nano experience on their inaugural attempt.
While most of the site content is aimed toward novelists, there is some evidence of NaNo support for rebels. The most notable piece of evidence of its support for rebels are the 'rebels' and 'script frenzy' forums 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).
The opinions of wrimos on rebels vary. A small minority favor disqualifying all rebels or favor disqualifying all non-rebels. However, most wrimos fall into one of these three categories:
- Novel Supportive - These Wrimos believe that novelists are better participants than rebels. Some simply like novelists better, others favor only allowing certain types of rebels, and still others don't want to allow any rebels, but don't favor disqualifying all of them due to the difficulty of such a task.
- Neutral - Supports Rebels and Novelists equally, with no preference between the two.
- Rebel Supportive - These Wrimos believe that rebels are better participants than novelists. Some simply like rebels better, others favor only allowing certain types of novelists, and still others don't want to allow any novelists, but don't favor disqualifying all of them due to the difficulty of such a task.
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 Rebels forum
The Rebels forum (formerly NaNo Rebels before September 2019) was formed in 2009 as a space for participants who were bending the rules of NaNoWriMo.
"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." (2009-2014)
"You’re writing a memoir, an essay, a comic, or something else that's not a novel. Come join the NaNo Rebels and converse with your fellow outlaws here." (2015-present)
Popular Topics and Threads
- A reminder to pick up your halo (Sticky post)
- "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.)
- themermaidslair (2010)
- N_E_Star (2011)
- Marauders Girl (2011-September 2018)
- kataja (2012-September 2019)