It’s November, which means National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is in full swing. It also means its programmatic pal NaNoGenMo — National Novel Generation Month — is up and about too. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like.
If you’re not sure what NaNoGenMo sounds like, it’s probably a bit like nan-o-gen-mow. If you want something a little less literal, it’s when coders put their programming skills to the test to see who can come up with the best 50,000-word novel.
The competition has been running since 2013, and uses code repo GitHub as an anchor point. Entries are logged as issues, where anyone is free to read them, along with the code that generated the result.
The rules are rather straightforward:
The “novel” is defined however you want. It could be 50,000 repetitions of the word “meow”. It could literally grab a random novel from Project Gutenberg. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s 50k+ words.
Please try to respect copyright. We’re not going to police it, as ultimately it’s on your head if you want to just copy/paste a Stephen King novel or whatever, but the most useful/interesting implementations are going to be ones that don’t engender lawsuits.
If you’re wondering the sort of stuff people come up with, here’s a snippet from a 2017 one entitled “The Infinite Fight Scene”:
The path from slavery to power begins with a single crack of a whip. Briana spins around, her face red with pain and anger. She is new here, but she knows what is coming.
Once Agruth starts whipping, the victim ends up dead. Agruth loves killing slaves.
Another crack and there is new blood pouring from a gash in Briana’s face. Agruth grins.
Nobody else is in sight. It’s just Aren, Agruth, and Briana. That’s Agruth’s first mistake.
Or this attempt, called “Pride, Prejudice”, which tries to streamline Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice by using contractions (“will not” becomes “won’t”, for example) removing honorifics (Mr, Mrs, Miss and the like) and cutting the word “damn” (I guess Austen was a fan).