NaNoReNo is a month long game jam/event in which developers are challenged to make a visual or kinetic novel from start to (hopefully) finish, held primarily on the Lemmasoft forums. It was originally inspired by the more famous NaNoWriMo (National Novelist Writer's Month, which takes part in November).
What dates does it run from and until?
March 1st 2017 until March 31st 2017 - the whole month.
Do I have to sign up anywhere to participate?
No, you do not have to sign up to participate in NaNoReNo, though you will more than likely get more out of the experience by joining the Lemmasoft forums and sharing the journey with the fellow participants there!
Is there a prize or any sort of judging?
There is no prize or judging in NaNoReNo - the event is a challenge that the developers set themselves and the prize is the magnificent sense of gratification you get after finishing your final build at the end of March. Mmmm.
Why should I participate in NaNoReNo?
Sometimes we need a fire lit under our butts. It's hard enough to get through making a game from start to finish without a time limit, let alone with just a month to get through everything. Having a deadline will motivate you, help you prioritize your time, let you work on a project you know will be (again, hopefully!) finished by a certain point and let your explore something outside of what you usually do. The same reason developers participate in game jams, it's a bit of fun with some time management thrown in and if there's ever that one visual novel idea you've had lurking at the back of your head forever but never had the kick to go explore it - do it now!
I heard NaNoReNo used to only apply to ren'ai (romance) games. Is this true?
This was indeed true back when the event was young in 2006, but as it has progressed the rules no longer particularly apply and you are free to create whatever genre of visual novel you wish - not just bound to romance.
Where do I post my novel when I've finished it?
Feel free to post it in this subforum when you're done, though you can also have your own thread while you work on it as well. Post pictures, share what you're up to - the visual novel community is an extremely supportive one.
Other useful information
2017 NaNoRenO Recruitment Thread