Write a novel in November

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, no nonsense approach for those who have ever fancied penning a novel - and it begins this Saturday.

The "National" part not withstanding, for years now NaNoWriMo has been international in flavour, and fellow SFXers from across the UK and beyond are talking about their 2008 bid for writing glory right now on our forum .

The author and idealist Chris Baty started the project in July 1999 with 21 participants in the San Francisco Bay area. A year later (it's the tenth anniversary this year) it began in earnest and the event has been held every November. The number of global participants is now measured in hundreds of thousands. Starting on day one, entrants set themselves the personal goal of penning a 50,000-word novel by midnight on 30 November. It's great fun, and because it values enthusiasm and effort over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo removes some of those critical barriers which might have stopped you from writing in the past. Whether you're a serious "artist" or somebody with a good idea who just needs a bit of a push, this is an annual novel-writing programme for people who just need some mutual support as an incentive to get words on paper.

You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. There are no prizes for hitting the target and no punishments for failing. Nobody is checking to make sure your novel makes any kind of sense. The only editor is you, and you don't even have to do that if you don't want to. Your novel can be on any theme, in any language and in any genre - although we'd naturally assume you'd be writing SF! The rewards, however, are priceless, as you may walk away knowing once and for all that you do have it in you to get your big ideas down on paper.

Come on to the SFX forum and help keep other SFX NaNoWriMers inspired, and let us know if you hit the word target with your SF masterpiece!