National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) brings a new meaning to the title Page Master. Aspiring writers ages 13 years or older sign up online to compete with citizens around the world to write a 50,000 word piece in one month. The prize: being published and discounts for online writing tools and programs. However, there is no limit to the number of winners so long as the written piece has reached the minimum page limit.
To begin, writers log on to the National Novel Writing Month’s website to create an account, enter in a screen name, and the title of their book with a short description. On average, writers need to complete between 1,500 and 2,000 words daily to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month. To put it in perspective, 5 to 8 double spaced pages need to be completed per day. After completing their novels, writers are encouraged to edit and proofread them during NaNoWriMo’s “Now What?” months where the final stages of the novel are finalized.
Communications and English double major Jenna Kauffman ’17 participated in NaNoWriMo for an assignment for her tenth grade creative writing class. Her young adult novel “Wish You Were Here” is a mash-up of the coming-of-age and romance genres and about two sisters connecting after death tears them apart. She was able to finish her novel but says that the final product was raw and took her time polishing it during the “Now What?” months.
Kauffman describes the process as hectic and states, “It was easier to balance [in high school] than now.” During the process, her teacher gave a daily goal of words to be completed. Kauffman reminisces that it was good to stay in a pattern to keep on top of the word count as it would double each day if the goal was not met. At the end she received a copy of her book which she says made it worth the effort.
Veterinary Medical Technology major Rebekka Frank ’19 plans to participate in NaNoWriMo this semester. Frank has had an interest in writing from a very young age and heard about NaNoWriMo from friends. She plans for her novel “Red Letter Morning” to be a mystery about a girl who gets pulled into a serial killer case after she recognizes one of the many bodies broadcasted on the news. Working within the mystery genre is a new experience for Frank as she usually writes science fiction. While this may seem daunting, Frank is up for the challenge as she states, “It is always good to write new genres.”
NaNoWriMo allows for the freedom of creativity for many people who work in multiple genres. It gives a chance for aspiring writers to experience the novel writing process within a restricted deadline. While the deadline of a month may seem too short amount of time due to authors such as George R. Martin taking years to finish their work, it provides experience and confidence for new or experienced writers to accomplish a larger piece of work within a deadline and simulates an official publishing process.
To participate in NaNoWriMo for this year or in the future visit their website http://nanowrimo.org.