Please read this entire thread before posting. Seriously.
We’ve probably already answered your question right here. This thread is JUST for asking about whether or not you’re a rebel.
Am I a rebel?
We get this question here a lot. The odds are not; there are some rules that people think are rules, but really aren’t! So we’re going to touch on the most commonly asked ones. The first rule of NaNoWriMo: If you think it’s a novel, so do we. Some people like to know if they are or are not rebellious, though, so we’ll let you know if you ask. If you’d like to know if something’s against the rules or not, ask in the Rules and Regs (#support:rules-regs) forum.
Here are the basic rules for winning, as outlined on the How NaNoWriMo Works page.
- Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
- Only count words written during November. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
- Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
- Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
- Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
- Upload your novel for word-count validation to our site during the winning period.
What does being a rebel mean? Does this mean I can’t validate, or use the site, or participate in NaNoWriMo?
Absolutely NOT! You are 100% welcome. In fact, you’re so welcome we gave you this very shiny forum, where people won’t accuse you of being a cheater or “not doing it right.” Some rebels validate, others don’t. We don’t check, and we don’t care! Some people feel that if they’re not doing it by the book, they shouldn’t validate. Those people will still get shiny green bars of completion once they hit 50k. Others feel they worked hard, and should get their purple winner’s bar and winner’s certificate.
Neither is wrong! This is a self-challenge. The REAL prize of NaNoWriMo is the accomplishment, and the big new manuscript you have at the end. Everything beyond that is icing on the cake.
I won’t be writing crap. I’ll probably be editing while I write. Am I a rebel?
Nope. Writing crap is allowed… not required. Chris Baty asks you to give yourself permission to write crap… but you aren’t required to write crap to win. Some of us even manage to churn out pretty decent drafts! Those of you who edit… you’re not rebelling either. Editing is discouraged, but not forbidden, and only because when you edit, you slow yourself down and may end up bogged down in worrying about whether or not it is perfect. Plenty of people edit, win, and validate!
I’m writing fanfiction. Am I a rebel?
Not even a little. We even have a forum for you! (#genres:fanfiction) The only rule we have for content is that it must be fiction. Beyond that…
I’m writing a collection of short stories. Am I a rebel?
Probably not. There’s no actual rule on this one. We define a novel as “a lengthy work of fiction.” However, we the moderators feel that since you find short story collections on the shelves alongside longer works of fiction, if they’re related, they count. They need to have some common theme, or linking thread that weaves them together that makes them a single, “lengthy work of fiction.” Which leads us to the next:
I’m writing a series of unrelated essays/short stories/vignettes. Am I a rebel?
Probably. Again, there’s no official rule on this one, but if you’re just combining unrelated work to get the 50k, it’s probably not a novel.
I’m writing a memoir/biography/guide to Europe/creative non-fiction/any non-fiction. Am I a rebel?
Yes. Nonfiction is outside the bounds of the NaNoWriMo challenge. If it’s not fiction, then it doesn’t fall within the confines of “a lengthy work of fiction.” The exception to this is fictionalized memoir; we don’t tell you how MUCH fiction you must include. It’s up to you to decide. Fictionalized memoirs are okay, true, non-fiction memoirs are rebellion.
I’m continuing last year’s NaNo, or another work I’ve been writing on before November. Am I a rebel?
Not anymore. You no longer have to start from scratch… With that said, we still strongly encourage you not to bring unfinished manuscripts for your first NaNo, at the very least. Finishing a work in progress for NaNoWriMo can be much, much harder. Give yourself the gift of a clean slate, and start from word one on November 1.
If you choose to continue a previous work, you can only count the words you write during November. You still have to write 50k.
I started this idea, but it never got far. I won’t be using the stuff I wrote, but it’s the same idea and characters. Am I a rebel?
No. Ideas are fine! When you make biscuits from scratch, you sometimes use a recipe, and you don’t make the flour and water out of nothing! As long as you set anything you’ve written aside, don’t refer to it, and don’t include any of the original prose… it’s fine.
What if I don’t finish my novel at 50k? Am I a rebel?
No. 50k is a threshold… not a limit. If you’re a vet, you may remember when Chris encouraged you to hit “The End” on November 30, but that’s not even recommended anymore. It’s a great goal, but if you don’t finish, you’re not a loser. The goal is to write at least 50k.
I’m writing a script. Am I a rebel?
Yes. You can join your fellow scripting rebels in the Script Frenzy forum. (Script-related threads will be moved there!
I’m writing a video game/drawing a graphic novel/composing music. Am I a rebel?
Yes. While these are incredible art forms in and of themselves, we focus on novels. Graphic novels are novels, but we don’t have a way to validate them… it has to be text.
I’m writing my novel in journal form/as a fictional guide/in verse/insert other strange form here. Am I a rebel?
Is it fiction? Then no! We don’t care what the format’s like. If it’s a lengthy work of fiction, we don’t even care if you write it on stone tablets in unrhymed verse… it still counts.
I don’t have a computer, and I’m handwriting my novel. Am I a rebel?
No. In fact, we even have a special clause for you handcrampers out there to validate. Check it out the Luddite Clause.
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? I want to make 50 images for NaNoWriMo. Am I a rebel?
Yes. Images are outside of the bounds of the challenge. That is very clear rebellion!
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, because you guys always come up with something to surprise us. But feel free to ask your “am I a rebel” questions in this thread. We’ll try to answer!