Wednesday, November 12, 2014


National Novel Writing Month—NaNoWriMo—is a great initiative, which I may have partaken in had I not already completed my own writing month in September—driven on by a broken heel. 

For the month, I set a starting daily goal of 600 words. As I achieved and passed my goal each day, I felt more confident (and happy) and increased it slowly to 900 and onto 1200, eventually achieving a total of 14 days of over 1500. I threw in a handful of massive 3000+ writing days (on flights to and from Toronto) and from the 23rd August to the 26th September I wrote over 50,000.

I think Novel Writing Month ( is a great idea and all the staff and volunteers involved have created a wonderful non-profit organization. They run Young writers Programs and provide free community resources all over the world. 

However, that said, I do feel the need to take a tongue-in-cheek look at the name—NaNoWriMo.

Considering it was created to celebrate literature, well, if not to celebrate then to encourage, cajole, lay guilt upon, the creative writing masses of the world, it has to be (relatively) one of the worst “acronyms” ever created.

When I first saw it, I thought they were remaking Mork & Mindy – “NaNu NaNu” or Julie Andrews was making the Sound of Music II—DoReMiFaSoLaTi2. My spell checker got in on the act and came up with Nanaimo—a city on Victoria Island.

This got me curious about acronyms.

An Acronym is an abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word, so we can say NaNoWriMo is not really one- or maybe not an easy one.

Acronyms are relatively new within mainstream English, it only took hold in the last 75 years.  It has been around for a while and an earlier example is the inscription INRI over the crucifix, which stands for the Latin Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum ("Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews".) More popular examples are, A.M. (from Latin ante meridiem, "before noon") and P.M. (from Latin post meridiem, "after noon").

There are a number of ways to construct an acronym. I have listed a few below with some clever examples:

Pronounced as a word, containing only initial letters
Scuba: self-contained underwater breathing apparatus

Pronounced as a word, containing non-initial letters
Gestapo: Geheime Staatspolizei (‘secret state police’)

Pronounced as a word, containing a mixture of initial and non-initial letters
Radar: radio detection and ranging

Pronounced as a word or as a string of letters, depending on speaker or context
SQL: ([siːkwəl] or ess-cue-el) Structured Query Language.

Pronounced as a combination of spelling out and a word
JPEG: (jay-[pɛɡ]) Joint Photographic Experts Group

Pronounced only as a string of letters
BBC: British Broadcasting Corporation

Pronounced as a string of letters, but with a shortcut
AAA (triple A) American Automobile Association;

Some others, I am fond of:

WYSIWYG - What you see is what you get

Oktoberfest—maybe, not a great example but with beer, music, and tall blond German women, what is there not to like?

LGBT—Lesbian, gay, Bisexual & Transgender—not to be confused with LCBO—Liquor Control Board of Ontario

TASER—Thomas A. Smith’s Electric Rifle. This is taken from the 1911 novel, Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle, by Victor Appleton.

All this brings me back to our acronym. Below, I have taken a crack at some possible alternatives to NaNoWriMo:

WTF—Write the Fifty

Novelmber—(think Movember)

FiKWiT – Fifty Thousand Words in Thirty

Or my personal favorite:

Nowrimon – (Now-RY-mon). Here, I take a leaf out of Pokemon (pocket Monsters)

I ask, can we, as a very large group, not come up with something more inspiring, clever, or, dare I say, creative?

Do you have any favorite acronyms or perhaps an alternative to NaNoWriMo?

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