NaNoWriMo isn't a mixed drink or a Star Wars character. It's short for National Novel Writing Month, which tempts Stephen King wannabes to write a 50,000-word novel between Nov. 1 and the stroke of midnight on Nov. 30. The very first NaNoWriMo took place in 1999, attracting 21 entrants. In 2010, more than 200,000 people participated in the event. Friends often tackle the challenge together.
And now, thanks to the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program, families have started an annual tradition of filling their Novembers with literary aspiration and perspiration. The rules are different for young writers, who are asked to set reasonable, yet challenging, word-count goals, but the results are the same: increased fluency and confidence, as well as a manuscript that may or may not lead to publication. At the very least, families who participate in NaNoWriMo have something interesting to read throughout the month of December.
Of course, some families may find a literary challenge too daunting. What about an annual pilgrimage to a pop-culture extravaganza instead? Turn the page to learn more.