NaNoWriMo 2017

Welcome to NaNoWriMo 2017… may the word count be ever in your favor.

NaNoWroMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a fall tradition now in its 18th year. The event promotes creative writing and building pre-professional writer communities. While there are many official events , pep-talks, and more forums than you can shake a stick at… sometimes what you really need is your own green-fairy (no not this one) for inspiration.

How about a success story? Visit the website of  SteampunkLibrary patron Brianna Kienitz, whose for-pleasure writing project was recently published by NineStar press. She is also participating in NaNoWriMo and will be actively documenting her work on Twitter.

Contemporary realism not what you need? Check out these Steam- Themed NaNoWriMo publications (note: this list is not comprehensive nor is it necessarily an endorsement of quality, simply an example of a novel started or finished as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge that was eventually published by a physical publisher):

Bellow are a few writing prompts to help get you started, or help you if you get stuck.

The doctor looked over the young man sitting in front of her. He was a perfect candidate for this new surgery. He needed his arm removed or he would die, there was no question of that. But would it work? If it did she would be a hero and those stuffed shirts at the Philadelphia Medical Association would have no choice but to admit her… but if it didn’t…if it failed she risked hanging for murder.

Professor Reginald D. Moth began furiously unscrewing the gold-plated cover of the engine compartment. He simply couldn’t find the source of the leak and yet his lab was quickly flooding with oil. If the spill reached the carpet his landlord would surely evict him this time.

The scream can suddenly, vibrating every wall in the house. It was a scream filled with fear, with shock, and if it continued would surely render the creator unconscious from lack of breath. The explosion came no less suddenly, but its vibrations tore the windows from the walls and left the whole household concussed.

Share your progress with on on Twitter @SteamLib, or send us a link in the comments!





Official (and surprisingly inspirational) NANOWRIMO icon
Official (and surprisingly inspirational) NANOWRIMO icon

Have you been/are you planning on participating in the National Novel Writing Month (known to most folks as NANOWRIMO) challenge? We wanna hear about it! Email documents, comments, and links to submissions[at]steampunklibrary[dot]net.

Share your vlog updates; share your stories; share your favorite author podcast about tips for writing. If you need inspiration, you’re not alone, so send us your favorite steampunk story, website, or artwork and we’ll post it here and via the Steampunk Library Project Twitter page (@SteamLib) to help inspire your fellow participants.

Is your library (or school, or book group, or even just you and your friends) hosting a NANOWRIMO event? Check out this nifty idea for creating novel finishing kits.

Wanna learn more about NANOWRIMO and how to get involved? Visit the official website for all the details.

Good luck to all participants in the 2014 challenge!

NaNoWriMo Emergency Novel Finishing Kits

Program Type: Writing Kits

Audience: Adults, Teens

Time Frame: November

Space Needed: Display space for canisters

Budget Considerations:

  • Canisters
  • Instant Coffee Packets
  • Granola Bars
  • Pencils
  • Stationary
  • Staff Time


National Novel Writing Month – every November writers of all levels take the challenge to write a full novel (or at least a good chunk of one) in the month of November. The challenge is supported through social media campaigns, writing groups, and web tracking via The site also hosts postings related to writing help and organizes local events. As librarians, we can encourage writers to use the library as their writing space, research space, or just a place to come and get support as they take on hundreds of words a day. This project is designed to show that support while also spreading the word to those who may not have heard of NaNoWriMo. Images of canisters filled with tools to help writers have been floating around Tumblr and Pinterest, and the idea can be easily modified to help support Steampunk writers in November.

For each canister (likely a poster-tube, or for the thrifty a modified/sealed paper towel roll), instead of creating a generic kit, make them decorated and filled with cards with genre-specific sentence starters and other helpful pieces of inspiration. In addition to the coffee, pencils, and stack genre canisters might be filled with:


Steampunk: small pictures of Steampunk machines, note cards with quotes like “Steampunk creations may be mechanical, sculptural, or purely decorative… Whatever the application, the art celebrates a time when new technology was produced, not by large corporations, but by talented and independent artisans and inventors” from Art Donovan’s The Art of Steampunk (2011), tiny paper mustaches, top hats, and a small list of in house resources. The outside of the canister can be decorated with more paper top hats and closed with corset-lace styled ribbons.


Fantasy: A canister covered with a glittery paper dragon is attention grabbing no mater it’s location in the library. Filled with a wand, a list of online creature name generators, and quotes from J. K. Rowling, Tolkien, and Goodkind the magic is sure to start flowing.


Romance: A deep red canister filled with chocolates; who wouldn’t fall in love with a little chocolaty inspiration? Cards filled with synonyms for “love” (predilection, delight, adoration), pictures of the sunset, and a list ‘legitimate’ authors who also write romance (like Sabrina Jeffries who earned her PhD on James Joyce but makes her living writing romance) are sure to get blood pumping.


Children: NaNoWriMo isn’t just for grown-ups! This idea can also be easily modified for children, particularly during a day camp. Give each child a canister filled with a sentence starter (“Then suddenly the door opened”, etc), a few pictures, and a character name. Give them time to write a story using all the pieces from their canister and have them share with the group.


Online Resources: