Succeed at the November Novel Writing Challenge: 2018

Get support, community, and advice from fellow writing students and your instructors

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Join other Writing Academy students participating in the National Novel Writing Month Challenge!

National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) is an annual event people across the world participate in.

The goal: Write 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th

NaNoWriMo is ambitious, but achievable with the right support and inspiration.

You should join Writing Academy's Challenge because Steve and Dani believe completing NaNoWriMo is an accomplishment worth more than just bragging rights.

Everyone Who Completes the Challenge gets a Personal Consultation

Any student enrolled in the Writing Academy Challenge who completes 50,000 words by November 30th will receive a free, 30-minute personal consultation with Steve or Dani.

We can answer questions about your story's structure, specific challenges you're facing, help you come up with a publishing and marketing plan... whatever you want! For 30-minutes, we're all yours.

There Will Be One Grand Prize Winner

One student who finishes the challenge will win the grand prize: a complete critique, editing, and publishing package. Steve and Dani will guide you through the complete journey from rewrites to publication to marketing.

The Prize: Pro Bundle Package

Critique ($1000 value)

  • Reading your novel
  • Professional Writing Academy Critique with essay-style feedback

Line Edits ($1000 value)

  • Line edits throughout your manuscript to help you Write Big and Write Well

Phone Consultation ($200 value)

  • 1-hour phone consultation to discuss your feedback and make a plan for revisions

Editing ($800 value)

  • After you incorporate edits or re-writes, send your manuscript back for final copyediting for grammar and punctuation to get your work ready for publication

Publishing Assistance ($500 value)

  • Deluxe Self-Publishing Assistance Package
    • Custom designed cover
    • Formatted manuscript for print and Kindle
    • Publishing on Amazon


  • Traditional Publishing Assistance
    • Polishing your Query Letter
    • Tools for identifying publishers or agents to query

Marketing Assistance ($500 value)

  • We'll work with you to develop a personalized marketing plan to ensure your novel's success

Total Value: $4000

Sign Up Today Because Enrollment Will Be Capped!

In order to make sure everyone who participates gets our full attention, enrollment will be capped.

Sign up today to save your spot in this year's Writing Academy Challenge!


What to Expect

Here's a quick overview of what to expect from the Writing Academy November Novel Writing Challenge

What Will the Experience Be Like?

This is a different type of writing class than others you're enrolled in at Writing Academy. Each week, a new set of lessons and discussion areas will open up. We're all working against the same deadline (November 30th), so unlike our other courses, this isn't self-paced. This class is about inspiration and community.

Video Lessons

You can watch the short video lessons as they become available, and rewatch them whenever you need inspiration during NaNoWriMo. In five minutes (or less) the lessons will reinforce core concepts and discuss specific techniques to keep your writing brain feeling fresh, while still leaving you plenty of time for writing.

Discussion Areas

The discussion areas will allow you to connect with other Writing Academy students (and us!) to share struggles, triumphs, and advice.

The Schedule

Enroll now to save your spot! You'll also get instant access to a set of lessons describing what you can do now to prepare for November, including:

  • Signing up on the official NaNoWriMo site (it's free)
  • Discussing different ways to approach the challenge
  • Breaking down your daily writing goals
  • Deciding how (and when) you'll write

Class begins Thursday October 25th.

Week 0: Prepare

This week is all about getting ready to start NaNoWriMo. You'll be far more successful if you go in with a plan. So, we'll go through a Novel Writing Bootcamp to refresh your memory and start your creative wheels turning.

  • Oct 25 - Welcome to the Challenge!
  • Oct 26 - Dramatic Elements
  • Oct 27 - Plot vs Story
  • Oct 28 - Act 1
  • Oct 29 - Act 2
  • Oct 30 - Act 3
  • Oct 31 - Scene and Sequel


This week you start writing! After a few days you'll get into the rhythm of daily (or almost daily) writing. Share your discoveries and observations with the rest of your classmates. This week's writing lessons will focus on the mechanics of your writing and help you develop a three-dimensional protagonist and antagonist.

  • Nov 1 - Start!
  • Nov 3 - Tense/POV
  • Nov 5 - Protagonist
  • Nov 7 - Antagonist


Now that you're in the groove and cruising along, we'll talk about specific tips to elevate your writing. Miss any writing days? That's okay! Join us in the discussion area to see how other students handle life getting in the way of their writing.

  • Nov 9 - Voice
  • Nov 11 - Dialogue
  • Nov 13 - Setting


You're halfway there! Keep up the great work. This week we're focusing on creating conflict, which will propel your story forward and stave off writer's block. If you're in the US, there's a major holiday coming up. Join us in the discussion area to make a game plan for balancing family, festivities, and food with your writing goals.

  • Nov 15 - Halfway There!
  • Nov 17 - Conflict
  • Nov 19 - Conflict, Clock, Action
  • Nov 21 - Mystery


This is it! The home stretch. This week will provide a hefty dose of inspiration and encouragement to keep you going. Support one another in the discussion area.

  • Nov 23 - Write!
  • Nov 25 - Write Big
  • Nov 27 - Write Well


You've made it! A final burst of typing and you're across the 50,000 word mark! Congratulate one another and join us in the final lesson to make a plan for what comes next, now that you've achieved this huge milestone. We'll also talk about how our finishers can set up their free consultations with us in the coming weeks.

  • Nov 29 - Just One More Day!
  • Nov 30 - 50,000 Words!
  • Dec 1 - Now What? Next Steps


Your Instructors

Steve is the author of many novels and non-fiction books. His publications include mysteries, young adult novels, a romance novel, children's books, history and non-fiction about theme park design, and the writer's guide How to Fix Your Novel.

Steve is also the CEO of Alcorn McBride Inc, the company that provides the audio and video systems used in nearly all of the world's theme parks. In his spare time he enjoys world travel, sculpture and music composition.

During the past decade he has helped more than 30,000 aspiring authors structure their novels. Many of his students are now published authors.

Dani is a Chicago-based screenwriter and communication designer. She is the author of the Young Adult novel The Last Telepath, and three screenplays:

  • A Quintessence of Dust, a science fiction riff on what would happen if Hamlet met Bladerunner
  • How to Catch an Englishman, a romantic comedy about moving overseas in search of an eligible bachelor
  • Do No Harm, a drama that explores the ethical choices facing a heart surgeon when her personal and professional lives collide

Dani graduated Summa Cum Laude from Northwestern University, where she majored in Psychology and Radio, Television, & Film.

Course Curriculum

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