No Plot? No Problem, Desu! NaNoWriMo and My Foray Into Original English Light Novels

I’m somewhat excited that in less than a month, Baka Laureate will celebrate its first birthday. Truth be told, I’m actually more excited by the onset of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. As much as I’d like to prepare a wonderful post reflecting on the past 12 months as an anime blogger, I have to remind myself that, at my very core, I’m a writer, heavily influenced by the storytelling style of anime. 

Whether or not you like to write fan fiction or original fiction, National Novel Writing Month is a wonderful event that gets people writing. And if you’re a long-time writer that hasn’t found time to write as of late (such as myself), or a first-time writer suffering from One Day syndrome (“One day, I will eventually write a novel,”) this event is the perfect opportunity to throw all excuses out the door and just start writing.

NaNoWriMo, In a Nutshell

National Novel Writing Month is a month-long event from November 1 to November 30 that challenges participants to write an entire 50,000 novel from scratch. It encourages a seat-of-your-pants writing approach that just forces writers to think little of the quality of prose, but rather quantity. With only thirty days to either finish a novel of at least 50,000 words, or to write the first 50,000 words of a novel, an expected average pace of 1,667 words a day is required to meet the goal.

It sounds hard, but it’s quite doable. If careful thought is put into the approach taken towards planning and writing, and by shrugging away the opinions and thoughts of their inner critic (if you’re reading this, there’s a chance you’re an anime blogger yourself, and by nature, hugely critical of anime in general), nearly anyone can do it.

Last year, over 200,000 crazy people joined in on the fun, and more than 30,000 of them won before November was over. The reward for indulging in such insanity is nothing but a 50,000-word manuscript, a self-pat on the back, and the satisfaction that you did something that you once thought that you’d never be able to do.

You can only write your novel during the month of November, but can plan ahead of time. It doesn’t even have to be original fiction. Fan fiction writers can freely get in on the action. If you believe that you are writing a novel, then that’s all that matters.

Still confused? That’s fine, the official website has more information. What are you waiting for? Just sign up and go for it!

Come Together

Due to the nature of anime fandom itself, I’m quite sure that there are a number of people out there who are interested in writing fan fiction, or are already writing fan fiction in some way or form. NaNoWriMo is an excellent excuse to start writing or start writing more. NaNoWriMo builds community, and the anime community is an excellent one at that. What better way to support each other’s common interests than to discuss the trials and tribulations of a writing challenge such as this.

For the month of November, I will be using the blog as a place to discuss my progress on my novel, which I feel will be related enough to anime and manga to warrant writing about it.  In October, I will be doing a series of NaNo-centric posts similar to the fanfiction planning post series I did back at the end of summer. I hope to be able to spark some discussion about writing with readers who also want to write!

Light Novel Writing in Original English Language

Despite the fact that Anime and Manga are primarily associated with media consumption in Japan only, there has been a recent rise in television shows and graphic novels that incorporate the art and storytelling style of the Japanese medium, marketed towards an audience in places other than Japan. In North America, such works include Avatar: the Last Airbender, Megatokyo, The Sunwell Trilogy, and others. International works are also created in other languages other than English or Japanese as well, including that of Manwa and Manhua in Asia, as well as the television series Wakfu in France. 

Despite the recent trend in anime and manga, I haven’t seen that much in regards to Light Novels. The light novel localization scene is still a slowly developing branch of the North American anime experience, which explains why there isn’t as much exposure to the written medium as the graphic and animated counterparts.

I feel there’s a market out there, especially for works targeted at young adults and teens. My first NaNoWriMo novel, despite being written in a genre that I adore dearly, has a lot of mature themes that would seem to be a bit unsuitable for that age demographic, which is the reason why despite garnering interest from prospective publishers, I’ve become hesitant in sharing that particular work with them.

Hence, I want to start over from scratch and write an interesting, genre-blending story aimed at this specific audience. Since light novels are considerably shorter than the average novels, but longer than novellas, NaNoWriMo’s 50,000-word goal is the ideal length for the medium. I have a few ideas in my mind, one of them being the magical girl cyberpunk derivative that I postulated in a previous post, and the other being a commentary and criticism on Fractale, since I’ve stated before that the show has the foundation for something really interesting, but was executed rather poorly. I’m interested writing my own interpretation of the show’s concept, but re-imagining the plot to incorporate different things that I felt would have made the show better. I’m still thinking about it, and I have all month to do so.

October is a crazy time of the year. NaNoWriMo is just around the corner, and there’s a lot that needs to be done from here on out. With a new anime season in full swing, there’s so much that needs to be watched and commented on as well. There’s going to be a lot to write about this month, and the next, I will only be writing even more. It’s quite exciting, to be honest!


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