Nanowrimo provides outlet to aspiring student novelists

Rhydian Talbot/Staff Writer

Ah, November.

Pumpkin pie, ill-fated turkeys, Black Friday shopping and — writing?

For thousands of writers, November is just as much about composition as it is about food consumption.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, began promptly at midnight on the first of the month, at which time writers (amateur or otherwise) sharpened their pencils and wit, embarking on 30 days of untapped creativity.

As the title suggests, writers involved in NaNoWriMo face the challenge of writing a 50,000-word novel in one month’s time.

The endeavor puts an emphasis on quantity of writing rather than quality, pushing closeted novelists to fulfill aspirations of penning a complete work of fiction.

At the conclusion of the month, writers who have met the minimum number of words may submit their work to a publishing company that prints and delivers one copy of the finished product to the author.

Those accomplished few with printed copies of their novel also secure bragging rights, having “won” NaNoWriMo.

The open call to any and all writers reached sophomore Mallory Vallentine, who is participating in the novel-writing challenge for the first time.

“I wanted to try it out because my brother had done it for several years, and it always seemed fun to him.

I’ve always liked writing, too, so I thought I’d try it,” Vallentine said.

With a working genre of sci-fi, Vallentine is playing around with the composition process, trying to find a groove that best suits her schedule and inspirations.

One of the stumbling blocks pertinent to almost all novelists, however, is writer’s block, where words and story lines run dry, despite (or, perhaps, because of) constricting time lines.

To combat this obstacle, Vallentine tries a variety of techniques to get the creative juices flowing once more.

“I always listen to tons of different kinds of music.

Typically, I’ll also go on Facebook or Tumblr to give myself a break because my brain needs time to come up with something creative.

But sometimes the best thing to do is to shut off everything, go to a quiet place, and just think.

It all just depends on my mood.”

Senior Richelle Kime is no stranger to this month-long write-a-thon.

As a five-time participant and two-time winner of NaNoWrimo, Kime has a practiced grasp on the process.

With 30,000 words under her belt just a little over one week into November, producing a completed novel in the remaining 20 days seems completely feasible to the published author.

Years of experience helped shape her current game plan, which includes a more structured approach.

“This year, for the first time ever, I plotted out all the chapters on Nov. 1, which helped me so much.

I knew where I’d be going from the start instead of sitting there with a schedule like, ‘I wonder what I’m gonna barf up today,’” Kime said.

Besides the satisfaction of completing a novel, Kime takes pride in her artistic transformation and grasp of language over the past five years, so displayed in her books.

“Back five years ago when I first learned about NaNoWriMo, every single sentence ended in a exclamation point.

I can’t even go back to read it because it was so bad.

My plots were so simple when I was in 8th grade because I didn’t have enough life experience to put into my books, which I think is a big factor in how your novel turns out.”

Her current project showcases more grammatical precision, tailored sentence structures and complex vocabulary than endeavors past; such writing developments Kime attributes to a variety of English classes and, simply, time.

As the end of the month draws to a close, both authors hope to be dotting the final “I’s” and crossing off the remaining “T’s” and goals on their bucket lists.

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