Students type furiously for NaNoWriMo


Oreos. Chatter. Typing. Idea tossing. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) began again this November, and four Malone students who had entered the challenge to complete a novel of 50,000 words in one month began typing furiously.

NaNoWriMo began in 1999. In its first year, it had 21 participants, but by the 12th year (last year) there were 200,530 participants according to the NaNoWriMo website.

Sophomore English major Emily Duncan works on a novel. Duncan and three other Malone students worked toward writing novels as part of the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). (Photo by Kaitie Fox)

“I’ve done it for the past two years and have never gotten past 4,000 words until now,” integrated language arts major Allison Hammerle said.  She said her goal for the end of the month is 25,000 words.

Another participant explained her past experience in NaNoWriMo.

“I’ve always liked to write,” freshman undeclared major Blaire Thomas said. “I’ve got to the 50,000 word count, but the story itself wasn’t finished.”

It was the fourth time she had done this event.

Thomas said her story is about a girl who takes a bus across the country to visit her mom who left her ten years before the novel began.

Sophomore English major Emily Duncan had started writing an urban fantasy trilogy over the years and started another book apart from that series this November.

Over the summer, Duncan’s friend was watching a British TV show Hex, but she was warned not to watch because it was so terrible.

“’Don’t, because everyone who has watched it has spawned [it] into an adult super fantasy novel,’” Duncan said her friend warned.

Duncan said she watched it anyway, not thinking it would do her any harm, but it convinced her to write a novel this month based on the show.

Some of the four participants had started planning the characters and plot before starting their novel while others had planned after they started.

Freshman nursing major Casey Murphy said she plans as she writes her story.

“[I’m] just figuring it out as I go,” Murphy said.

Other students planned out their stories more in advance.

“I had my characters for the story in April — first middle, last name, siblings, friends … everything,” Hammerle said. “I just didn’t start writing.”

Yet even as the stories are planned they change as the writers type in frenzy. Hammerle said her story started out with 10 college students who happened to become best friends and it eventually morphed into a love triangle very loosely based on her life.

Each aspiring novelist hopes to use these drafts as a means to publish a novel.

“Oh, yes. Leave it to the summer and rewrite,” Thomas said.

Duncan said she also hopes to go back to her first book that she finished before writing the current novel, so she will abandon her current book for awhile.

National Novel Writing month is made easier by having a community with you to talk about and share ideas together.

“I am here for support, but not for NaNo [National Novel Writing Month],” sophomore theology major Avery Lainn said.

Lisa Heath is a senior staff writer for Aviso AVW.

Categories: Features

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