If this is your first year participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) you might be a bit intimidated by the 50,000-word goal. Sometimes a little motivation is all you need. We have compiled a list of some great novels written for the NaNoWriMo challenge from years past. Check them out over the next couple weeks to give yourself a little confidence as you prepare to start writing!
Published in 2008, Persistence of Memory is by popular YA (young adult) author, Amelia Atwater Rhodes. In this novel, Erin is a sixteen-year-old suffering from various mental health problems, one of which creates another personality. “Shevaun” is Erin's vicious alter ego and is threatening to ruin Erin's life. Soon however, it becomes apparent that Shevaun is actually a vampire who doesn't like being attached to Erin. So much so, that Shevaun is determined to fully destroy Erin and break the link between them.
From the Ashes by Jeremy Burns
A thriller that takes a page from favorites like Di Vinci Code, From The Ashes by Jeremy Burns is a fast pace thriller that tells the story of grad-student brothers Jonathan and Michael Rickner. When Michael is found dead and Jonathan finds evidence to suggest something other than the “suicide” that authorities have labeled it as, he teams up with Michael's fiancé Mara as they uncover the truth behind the research that got Michael killed. Delving into a past conspiracy involving J. Edgar Hoover, the Rockefeller family and Nazi Germany, Michael and Mara soon uncover more than they ever could have imagined. “…Jon and Mara must navigate a complex web of historical cover-ups and modern-day subterfuge, outwitting and outrunning their all-powerful pursuers as they race through the monuments and museums of Manhattan in a labyrinthine treasure hunt to discover the last secret of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., before their enemies can bury the truth – and them – forever.” – From The Ashes
Self Storage is a journey of self-discovery by Flan, a young housewife who buys and resells items from abandoned storage units while her husband works on his PhD. When Flan wins the bid on a mysterious box that contains only an address and a note with the word “yes”, she embarks on a journey to find her own yes in life. It leads her to unexpected places and gives her the desire to discover the stories of those around her as well. Flan finds herself intrigued by her Afghani neighbor, which comes with disastrous consequences. Brandeis' story intertwines Flan's journey with Walt Whitman and the impact of societal views after 9/11.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Yes, this wonderful book originated from NaNoWriMo! If you haven't had a chance to read it, it is an ideal choice for a little writing motivation. Set during the Great Depression, Water for Elephants tells the story of Jacob Jankowski, a young veterinary school student who, after the death of his parents, finds himself with no prospects and runs away with a circus. There he quickly becomes integrated into the circus life of the 1930's and is made the show's veterinarian despite never finishing school. The show's very married starlet, Marlena, catches his eye and Jacob must battle with his feelings toward her.
Another young adult pick, author Susan Dennard burst onto the scene with this debut novel written for National Novel Writing Month. The Dead are rising in Philadelphia and sixteen-year old Eleanor has a feeling her missing brother has a hand in it. Teaming up with the Spirit-Hunters, a group hired to protect the city from the Dead, Eleanor works to stop the Dead and save her brother. This is an enchanting steam-punk tale of zombies that combines romance and adventure. A great motivator for your own debut novel!
When Zoe Waters' grandfather suddenly passes away, she finds herself back home, trying to sort out the estate. Deciding what to do with the old vineyard proves difficult when Zoe's old high school boyfriend Hugh wants to buy the place. Hugh and Zoe had a bad break up when Zoe left town all those years ago. When Hugh discovers he wasn't told the truth behind Zoe's leaving, they must come to terms with what happened, who is really to blame and whether or not they can learn to trust again. A pleasant yet realistic romance, In His Eyes is another great example of what great work can come out of NaNoWriMo.
Now get to writing!