Win NaNoWriMo 2017 with a revolutionary new guided writing experience.

Noah and his brother Will are stranded in a foreign world. Noah is worshiped as a god by the people and vilified by Lord EL. Can he fix his ship, save the people, and rescue his brother, all while battling the disease threatening his very existence?

Fans of Ender’s Game, The City of Ember, The Dream Engine, or even Eragon will love adapting this flexible sci-fi/fantasy story to their own style through a guided NaNoWriMo writing experience!

Afraid you might not finish NaNoWriMo?

That's legit.

In fact, each year, around 85% of WriMos fail to finish.

And millions more never even start.

But you don't have to be a statistic.

The awesome folks over at NaNoWriMo track all the numbers, and they've found proof: community and commitment dramatically increase your probability of winning.

You can finish NaNoWriMo this year in the elite group of winners.


With a little help from your friends.

What’s NaNoWriMo?

Every November 1, over 400,000 writers — first timers and bestselling novelists — set out to write 50,000 words (or more) in a month: National Novel Writing Month. They start out wide-eyed and hopeful, with a brilliant premise and a full pot of coffee.

NaNoWriMoThe first few days are great. But fatigue comes fast. You oversleep, or you fall short on wordcount. You catch up, but doubt is an unyielding hammer. You miss another day, then two. Your character turns down a dark alley in the rain, stops cold, and stares at a brick wall. Days pass and your wordcount graph falls deeper and deeper below the line. You finally collapse, and raise your hands in surrender.

What if it didn’t have to end that way?

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
-Ecclesiastes 1:9, King James Version

Even King Solomon, the wisest man ever, thousands of years ago, knew that no idea was truly new.

Yet every day, fresh stories captivate us.

So it stands to reason that a successful idea is the product of its execution, not the seed at its core.

If you think about it, Star Wars and Harry Potter are the same story. But George Lucas and J.K. Rowling are different people. And YOU, dear author, are the special sauce that makes your story unique.

So this NaNoWriMo, what if you tried something new?

  • What if you started with a roadmap created by a bestselling author, reviewed by a professional developmental editor, and shown in a structure you could both follow and learn from?
  • What if you had a guide not only to remind you to write, but one to tell you exactly what scene you need to write, each day?
  • What if you got a free online writing tool that required NO learning curve, where you could have your outline beside you OR you could just clear the screen and start writing, and have it keep track of your wordcount so you could report at the end of each day, and at the end, export your whole manuscript for validation with one click?
  • What if you had a whole community of authors working together to learn and adapt the same story to help you through tangles and encourage you through the rough spots?

That’s what you’ll have with the Sterling & Stone NaNoWriMo 2017 Shadows of Nar NaNoWriMo Challenge*.

What is Shadows of Nar?

Shadows of Nar was originally envisioned as a middle-grade adventure — the story of young Noah, stranded on an alien planet, and his quest to rescue his captive brother Will, repair his ship, and save his own people before a mysterious disease ravages his cloned body.

But in our StoryStudio, we know that stories are made to be adapted. A book is as much a product of its author as it is the details in the outline.

If you want to learn more about story structure, pacing, and meeting genre expectations, you can follow along with the outline and learn by doing.

If you prefer to adapt and let the story adjust and evolve, the world is yours for the making.

The planet Nar could remain the tech-ravaged, post-apocalyptic world in the original outline, or you could lean into more fantasy tropes, adapting the history and introduce magic instead of technology as an uncontrolled force that destroyed the world and confined a terrified population.

Replace the domed City of Light with a walled Fortress of EL. Fill the Shadowland with fantastical creatures.

Or … Noah becomes Noelle, ages a few years, and you’ve got a YA with a strong female lead.

Your choices are as limitless as your imagination.

Where did this story come from?

Shadows of Nar was developed by bestselling author Sean Platt. Platt has co-written over a hundred books and millions of words, and is a master of story structure and reader expectations across multiple genres.

Platt and his partners write and publish dozens of books each year, from YA and romance to dark horror. Sean has coached and taught thousands of authors, from aspiring new voices to successful, full-time authors.

And now you can learn from him AND win NaNoWriMo!

Who is this for?

  • Experienced authors looking to deepen their understanding of structure through experiential learning
  • Authors seeking a jump-start experience writing in a new genre
  • Brand-new authors seeking a secure environment to learn by following a proven structure from experienced instructors
  • Authors of any level looking to experiment, improve their productivity, learn to outline and pre-plan, or grow their worldbuilding ability by following a fully-fleshed-out example

Who is this NOT for?

  • Pure pantsers or out-of-sequence writers who would find themselves distracted or stifled by structure and fences
  • Literary authors who are committed to a unique idea or premise
  • Experienced Middle-Grade or Young Adult authors with deeply established worlds and characters
  • Fast writers who will produce double or triple the daily NaNo wordcount target and outpace the daily prompts
  • Financially-motivated authors who need to publish and market their NaNo project immediately
  • Authors whose current project, series, or ideas are already plenty to keep up with, and whose processes are already working great

If you’re a pantser and you love the process of discovery as you go but sometimes find yourself facing a brick wall, the daily prompts will be perfect guides for you.
If you’re a planner who needs to know how it wraps up, and the waypoints along the journey, you’ll be able to review the complete outline before you start.
If you’re adapting it to a different genre, you’ll be able to do that ahead of time, too.

Join the Sterling & Stone 2017 NaNoWriMo Shadows of Nar Challenge today!

The fine print…

You CAN edit and publish your final work if you want to. Your work is your work and you can do what you want. Before you do, keep these things in mind:

  • *The Shadows of Nar Challenge is an offering from Sterling & Stone, and is not in any way affiliated with the nonprofit organization NaNoWriMo. We encourage all our Smarter Artists to participate in NaNoWriMo, whether you join us in the guided experience with our Shadows of Nar story or you work on your own project. Know Your Why, y'all!
  • This outline is not exclusive. Other authors will also be writing to it, and may also choose to share or publish their work.
  • The more elements you change, the more unique your final manuscript will be, but each change introduces a risk of straying from the proven structure. Adapt as much as you want. Make it your own. But know your why, and make sure your changes are for great reasons. 🙂
  • The outline has been professionally edited, but no one on the Sterling & Stone team will be reviewing any participant's work as part of the challenge.
  • The more elements you change, the more your story will stray from the daily prompts. You always have the choice to ignore or stop the daily prompts, but they’re a big part of this program’s support structure. If you have a well developed writing habit, you’re happy with your daily wordcounts, and prompts aren’t important to keep you going through the messy middle, then awesome. But if you’re learning, if you tend to get tangled or stuck in the middle or end up with manuscripts that are a hot mess that take longer to sort out than to just write fresh, the value of learning to stay within the fences and following the daily prompts might be worth it.
  • Finally, your work is YOUR work. You may not list Sean Platt or Sterling & Stone as co-author or contributor to your work in any way.