The Southern Cross Novel Challenge

Writing challenges are a fantastic way to jump start (or finish!) a novel.

Want to Jump Start Your Novel? Try a Writing Challenge!

Many writers know about NaNoWriMo, the hugely popular writing competition where participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. It is an excellent event, and one I highly recommend. I did NaNoWriMo last year and it not only energized me to finally write the book I’d had in my head, but it also showed me that writing novels was possible — even for a guy with three kids and two jobs. Well, the writers from Down Under wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo, but the timing was just a tad inconvenient. So they created their own version: The Southern Cross Novel Challenge.


The Southern Cross Novel Challenge, or SoCNoC (pronounced “sock-nock”), was created by the good people in New Zealand as a version of NaNoWriMo a little better scheduled for the Southern Hemisphere. It is organized by the and occurs in June. Why June? It’s got 30 days and it occurs at an equivalent time and season as November in the Northern Hemisphere (just to make it all kind of even). The rules are pretty much the same as NaNoWriMo, with one significant difference: There is a Half!

That’s right, a half-novel option of 25,000 words. Just like many marathons these days have a half option, SocNoc gives those writers with crazy schedules a way to achieve total victory that is a little more realistic. Oh, there’s still the full novel option of 50,000 words, but the shorter version is, I think, a nice nod to those with a lot (too many?) of commitments.

The Rules

As with NaNoWriMo, contestants in SoCNoC have 30 days to complete their task. While the rules are extremely similar to NaNoWriMo, there are a couple of tweaks. From the website:

The goal is to write 50,000 words of fiction.

Generally the rules of NaNoWriMo apply but we’re a bit more flexible:
– the 50,000 words does not have to be on one novel
– you can work on an existing novel or multiple novels
– you can work on a compilation of short stories or even poems

However, for the best SoCNoC experience possible we recommend:
– you start a new novel on June 1st
– you aim to finish your novel at 50,000 words
– you aim to finish your novel by midnight on June 30th

Last, but not least, we ask that you log your word count no matter how close or how far you are from the 50,000 word goal. Every word counts towards our collective total!

You can register for SoCNoC HERE! Good Luck!

About Rob McClellan

Rob is the founder of ThirdScribe, a unique author services platform and social network. As a naval officer and diver, he spent a majority of his career doing a lot more than you would think with a lot less than you can imagine -- a skill that has proven extremely valuable in the start-up world. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

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