This is an advanced topic, so if you’re a Nano newbie or still thinking about if you even want to bother, I suggest you read the Nanowrimo – Is It Worth It? post from last year.

The nice thing about Nano is that you can make it work for you.  As long as you write 50,000 words of something, you’re good to go.

There are a variety of ways to be a Nano rebel, but I would say the most common is to invoke the Zotukou Clause.

The Zokutou Clause is available to all Wrimos that have won at least once in the past.

How it works is thusly: The Zokutou Clause assumes you have started a novel, but not finished it.  The official Nano rules state that you must write 50K on a new work of fiction, but the Zokutou Clause circumvents this.  It allows you to work on something you have already started, and it is considered a win if you write 50K or finish your draft. (If you finish your draft before 50K, most people will start a new project or move to another one in order to reach 50K, for tradition’s sake.)

The idea is, instead of starting yet another new story, to finish an old one instead, so you can move on to the next phase (editing, in most cases).

Have you ever utilized the Zotukou Clause?  Planning to this year?


Being a Nano Rebel: The Zotukou Clause
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6 thoughts on “Being a Nano Rebel: The Zotukou Clause

  • October 5, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Never even heard of the clause, not before you mentioned it. May take advantage of it– I’m not really sure what I’m gonna write, right now.

    Where did you find out about the Zotakou Clause, and where did the name come from?

    • October 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm

      It’s been around since at least 2006 — I think maybe Zette came up with it, but the origins seem to be lost to the ages.

  • October 5, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    And i misspelled Zotukou.


  • October 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I invoked it last year. The NaNo FAQs state that the reason you’re supposed to start a new novel is that it’s much harder to speed-write at NaNo speeds through a novel that you’re already attached to. I found that to be true — I only managed 25K, making it the first time I’ve lost NaNo. YMMV, of course, but if you are considering the Zokutou Clause, you may wish to take that into consideration.

    I may invoke the clause again in the future, but this year I’m doing a regular NaNo.

  • October 6, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    Now that I’m no longer an ML, I can admit this. 🙂 I used the Zokutou Clause (though I didn’t know the name at the time) to finish the novel that hit 50k the previous year and wasn’t even close to half finished.

    However, I ended up with a very-long winded 110k+ YA novel, and have gone through several rounds of pruning. And it still needs more, and will most likely never be polished.

    So sure, I crossed 50k both years, I got my winner’s badge and banner, but look at the horrible price I paid and remember that when you consider cheating at nanowrimo!


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Books by Kit Campbell

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