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Hey, How'd You Start a Fiction-Writing Revolution, Chris Baty, Founder of NaNoWriMo?

How a crazy idea turned into a worldwide event for aspiring novelists

- November 4, 2013
I've said that writing fiction is the most painful thing I've ever done -- and I've given birth to three children. I'm only half kidding.

But, seriously, most writers know that going from blank page to fully developed novel is no easy task. Thanks to Chris Baty and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), however, the process is slightly less difficult -- albeit it in a "let's all get our wisdom teeth pulled out together without anesthesia" kind of way. As of this writing, there are more than 226,000 people signed up to participate in this year's 30-day sprint to noveldom.

As testament to the magnetic pull of unwritten prose, Baty in 2012 stepped down from the organization he founded to have more time for what he spent 12 years encouraging hundreds of thousands of people on six continents to do. Here, the author of two novel-writing guides takes a break from his own literary pursuits to discuss what it's like to launch a cultural phenomenon and what it really takes to cross the NaNoWriMo finish line.

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