NaNo Nomenclature for the New WriMo

While saving some things from my regional forum, I remembered: I put together this handy Nomenclature guide for all of the (sometimes) odd terminology that we use around here! If you have any other questions, there are plenty of friendly old timers around willing to answer them (including me!). If any of those other veterans have words to add, I’m happy to update the list as well.

Also, I updated any of the special dates to reflect what I -think- the dates will be for 2019. I will update them closer to November when we know what they will be for sure.

Nomenclature Guide for New Wrimos

30C30D - 30 Covers in 30 Days. This is a fun side-event where professional designers volunteer their time to create a front book cover image for a NaNo Novel. Anyone can nominate their own or someone else’s novel. (Link pending) They seem to be picked semi-randomly. There is usually a fun thread for guessing how they choose which novels will get 30C30D covers.

50-Headed Hydra - A challenge that consists of writing 500 words in 5 minutes or less. Commonly seen in word crawls, sometimes as a punishment for failing to meet the previous requirement, as the Hydra is considered to be a rather difficult obstacle.

Camp NaNoWriMo - A “Camp” themed event that takes place in April and July. Previously, Camp was assembled by “Cabins”, which were chosen by choice or at random. We’ll see what it brings in 2020 with the merging of websites.

Chris Baty - Founder of NaNoWriMo. One of them anyway. Occasionally invoked, as in WWCBD (What would Chris Baty Do?). Author of “No Plot? No Problem” and general, all around good guy.

CWI - Come Write In. These are usually area libraries, bookstores, cafes, etc., that are welcome and open for business to writers to hang out and get some novel writing done. Some may host organized events while others choose to allow writers to come and go whenever they please.

Halo - an indicator on a profile/forum avatar that a user has donated to NaNoWriMo. Halos can be gifted in the name of another NaNo as well.

Kick-Off - The beginning of the event. Sometimes parties with this title happen the week or so before NaNo begins. Often they are social events with some theme to organizing and outlining.

Mentor - Someone who has done NaNoWriMo before and is willing to take a Newbie under their wing to help said Newbie navigate the event and survive the month. Newbies can find them here in the forums (Link for thread pending).

Midway - Sometimes you’ll see a Midway or Half-Way Party event. Basically it’s a celebration that you’ve made it to the half-way point–and you might as well keep pushing through!

ML - Municipal Liaison, er, fancy term for “your local volunteer”. They act as the local organizers for events. They are keepers-of-the-calendar, guides to NaNo, and go-between for an area’s participants and the headquarters in Berkeley, CA.

Mr. Ian Woon - a versatile character whose name is an anagram of NaNoWriMo. He has other anagram character counterparts, which are listed on his WikiWriMo Page

NaNo - What we shorten NaNoWriMo to when saving time or in a non-official capacity. The NaNoWriMo name is trademarked, so use carefully!

NaNo Toons - great comic strip drawn by Errol Elumir. They generally start the last week of October and run through the month of November. They are usually posted on the NaNoWriMo blog, or on their website. A great daily check for procrastinating!

NaNoism - A typo or error in a NaNo novel that is funny or awkward. These may happen while writing very quickly or under the influence of sleepiness, caffeine, or other things. Wikiwrimo link

Newbie - Someone who is participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time. Also: Noob or newb. (Possibly you!)

NOWD - Night of Writing Dangerously. An event held every year in San Francisco that involves fundraising, food, and a lot of frantic typing. Many regions host Over-night write-ins with similar theme. 2018 was the final HQ event, held in San Francisco.:cry:

Overachiever (OA) - Someone who (usually on purpose) writes more than 50,000 words in November. Do not accuse an Overachiever of cheating, no matter how unbelievable their wordcount is — it’s probably legit.

Pantser - A writer who “writes by the seat of their pants”–or in other words, doesn’t plan or outline their novel. Most have a vague direction, but some literally don’t know their genre until November 1st.

Planner - Planner does just that–organizes notes and outlines before the start of the event to varying degrees. They often have tons of notes, and can’t start until everything is ready.

Plantser - Portmanteau of Pantser and Planner, the Plantser will often have an outline, and maybe extensive research, for their impending novel, but go with the flow while actually writing.

Plot Bunny - An idea that refuses to go away until it is written. Called a bunny because of the tendency these ideas have of multiplying like rabbits.

Rebel - Someone not writing a lengthy work of fiction in November. This can be a graphic novel (and counting the illustrations), a collection of completely unrelated short stories, a dissertation, a nonfiction book about turtles, editing your novel… the sky’s the limit. Wrimos working on a novel in progress (as long as you write 50k during November) are not rebelling. Rebellion is not cheating. For more information on what is or isn’t rebellion check out Am I a Rebel? Find out here!

TGIO - Thank God It’s Over party. Typically an event held the last day of November or within the first week or so December to celebrate your completion of the event–winner or not, and to enter into more relaxed month of not writing (…or, at least not as much!).

TSOD - Traveling Shovel of Death. It’s a shovel that appears in novels to kill people (or has killed people). Remember, spoons are just little shovels. Learn more about it on its WikiWriMo page.

Validating - Copying and pasting your novel (or a scrambled copy of your novel) into the site’s Validator to prove that you have written enough words to win the event. Don’t be afraid if your word count is off–every word processor is different and doesn’t perfectly match the validator counter. It’s always better to have a few extra words.

WikiWriMo - An unofficial Wiki for WriMos! Want to delve into NaNo’s past and lore? This is the place to do it.

Winning - Writing and validating that you have written 50,000 words on your novel during the month of November. Remember to validate or your “win” won’t count! Winning usually begins around November 20th, although that date has varied in the past.

Word Crawl - a method to help keep you writing and increase word count via an interactive (sort of) game style. Popular crawls include Harry Potter/Hogwarts, Superheroes, and other themes. (Link to forum area pending).

Word Padding - a time-honored NaNoWriMo tradition that is entirely optional . Word padding includes doing things like not using any contractions, giving characters double names, making up new and wordy names for common things (Example: eyes = ocular orbs). Word pad, or don’t. No one will judge you for it.

Word Sprint - writing as many words as you can in a specified time period. Also see, Word War. Sprints are run all month long by @NaNoWordSprints on twitter.

Word War - race against another WriMo to see which of you can write more words in a specified time period. This can also be done between groups, and even regions.

WriMo - A NaNoWriMo participant.

Write-In - An event in a public place where WriMos get together to write. Sometimes they play games or run “sprints”, “word wars”, or other competitive productivity boosters.

Important dates and numbers:

October 1 - Traditionally, this was the reset date of the NaNoWriMo forums–which is now a thing of the past, much to our Lead Forum Moderator, Heather Dudley’s joy.

October 31 - All NaNos Eve. Celebrated by the eating of whatever the heck you want, and nervously waiting for the clock to strike midnight, or going to bed early so you can start writing first thing the next morning.

NaNo Selfie Day/Weekend - An unofficial annual day or weekend event organized by various MLs to promote WriMos sharing selfies while writing. Usually takes place on Social Media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram), and some regions have had threads started to promote photo sharing.

November 1 - NaNoWriMo begins!

November 2nd, 2019 - Double-Up Day (estimated date). This the main Donation day for NaNoWriMo. It costs a LOT to keep everything running smoothly for such a large event. You can help by doubling your donation–and your word count! Specials on merch and the various donor goodies are available this day only.

Mid-November - Back Up Your Novel Day. This day was traditionally a day to remember to back up in case the unexpected and worst case scenario happened! Also a good idea to do on a weekly basis. Has been declared on a variety of dates, and many regions individually recognize it even if it’s no longer official.

November 14th, 2019 - ML Appreciation Day (estimated date) The ML’s do a lot of work for their regions–organizing, planning, purchasing prizes, moderating forums and other social media. And it’s kind of a thankless job as they don’t get paid for it and do it entirely out of the goodness of their hearts. So remember to take a minute today to thank your ML team–and the other MLs around the world for doing a good job.

November 15th - Midway or Half-Way point through the month. If you’ve made it this far, you can make it the rest!

November 20(ish) - Winning begins. Specific Date TBA.

November 30 - Last day of NaNoWriMo

December 1-31 - Recovery or “Thank God Its Over”.

January 1st - Editing Begins. Expect an e-mail asking you to make a pledge to work on editing your novel for the rest of the year around this time.

50,000 - total number of words one must write during the month of November in order to win NaNoWriMo

1,667 - average number of words per day one must write to reach 50,000 by end of the month.


This is a great resource! What do you think about turning it into a wiki so TL3s could add to it?

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You’re just the best, @Samma_Jaye.

What about TGIO party?

Uuuhhh…I think I don’t know how to do that. :laughing: but OK. I haven’t learned as much about the forums as some of the other long-use betas have. I tried it out when MLs got access and then popped in periodically after that. I still haven’t even flexed all of my new Mod powers yet.

OMG. How do I not have TGIO on there?! Fixing immediately (and then getting back to work…my staff must think I’m such a lazy bum)


I went ahead and did it for you but for future reference if you click the 3 dots on the post and then wrench icon it includes the option to toggle the wiki status along with things like the staff notice coloring on posts :slight_smile:

ETA: LOL! I received the wiki editor badge for toggling it to a Wiki post.


Okay, I’m just stuck at the Traveling Shovel of Death. Besides from that it was very helpful since this will be my first year doing NaNo!


I was working on updating my NaNo Jargon post just this morning for use in our new region. My original list started about 8 years ago, back when we still had the Donation Derby, etc., so I was making sure that all the terms were still relevant.

That’s when I discovered WikiWriMo, and its list of NaNo related terms:

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Glad to help you achieve :wink:
And I swear I clicked on that and just didn’t see the option. Now I know!

WikiWriMo is a treasure trove of NaNo-y goodness that not nearly enough people know about. I often forget about it, so thanks for sharing the link! Glancing over the list, those are defunct or broader than the average newbie probably hears, but good for veteran (or exploitative newbs) to check out. I had forgotten all about the old Loaner Laptops, for instance.

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This is awesome! Thank you!
Isn’t Nov 5th Back Up Your NaNo day?

:thinking: I think in past years it has been. I can also recall Mondays being the standard “Back Up Day”, every week for a time. I’m not sure that we’ve had an offical one the last few years. Maybe it’s something they need to bring back!

We also have had “NaNo Selfie Day” or “Selfie Weekend” the past few years; but it’s been unofficial, organized by some MLs and mostly Twitter based. That might be a good edition too.


I updated the definition with a link to the WikiWriMo page about it. Hope that helps!


This list looks great!

NaNo HQ has not had an official Back Up Your Novel Day since 2017 (Nov 15). It does sound like something to bring back.

And I never heard about the NaNo Selfie thing officially, only through MLs. So that may have been an ML-led thing.

You’re right about that Wikiwrimo list being far broader than what Wrimos today generally need to know, simply because the scope of that wiki is broader than what Wrimos need to know right now. Maybe a “Basic Terms” category is in order, but that’s another topic. :slight_smile:


Yeah,and for some yeas we’ve been giving out the “prizes of Tapio Lappaja foundation” in Finnish region. For different feats like winning, writing double nano, best nanoism, best excerpt, best forum answer, etc. etc."
(“Shovel of Death” is ‘Tappajalapio’ in Finnish, and flipping it gives that “Tapio Lappaja”. Tapio is a real man’s name.)


Okay, the 15th. I just like reminding myself: remember, remember the fifth of November to back up your nano!


50-headed hydra… Where should that be mentioned and defined? (I’m looking through last year’s word crawls so I thought I’d ask.)

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I’m not familiar with that one myself :thinking: Numeric-Alphabetic order though, with dates at the bottom. So, under 30C30D.

I added a bit, and I rephrased a bit to make it more neutral. And then I edited it three more times because I thought of more things or noticed an spelling mistake.

Seriously, most pantsers plan a lot.


Yes. Yes we do. But it’s usually after-the-fact.