Berry students gear up for National Novel Writing Month

Alana George, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts & Living Editor

Nov. 1 marked the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a month-long writing competition with a goal of 50,000 words by the end of November.

This year, there are a few Berry students who are willing to rise to the challenge, on top of their classes and other commitments.

The competition began in 1999 and became a non-profit organization in 2005. Last year, there were over 400,000 participants from all over the country, and many novels written during NaNoWriMo over the years have been published.

According to the NaNoWriMo website, “National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds – on and off the page.”

One student participant is senior Kayla Fuss. She has been working on her novel, about a werewolf boy and a cat-girl who bring their feuding groups together to defeat a witch, for a few years now, and she is well aware that NaNoWriMo is not for the faint of heart.

“It’s very difficult when you’re doing classes and studying for finals to get all 50,000 words, but so far I’ve done pretty good,” Fuss said.

Fuss also had some advice for students who might be interested in participating next year.

“I think my biggest advice would be to not get discouraged if you don’t meet your word goal,” Fuss said. “You’re not really wasting anything by trying to do it.”

Another student participating in NaNoWriMo this year is sophomore Shannon Rainey, who has been participating in NaNoWriMo since 2014. She has always wanted to be an author, so NaNoWriMo was a good opportunity to sit down and work on her novel, a gothic retelling of Snow White. Her advice to other aspiring novelists is to actually set aside time to hit a daily word goal.

“It’s not that hard to hit the goal when you actually set aside time to work on it,” Rainey said.

Rainey also counts words that she writes for school papers toward her 50,000-word goal. She thinks that anything she writes during that month should count toward her goal.

“To me, any words I put down on paper I think are important, and they’re practice, and they’re good,” Rainey said.

William Donnelly, assistant professor of English, encourages his creative writing students to participate in NaNoWriMo. He has never been able to participate himself, but he thinks it is a good motivator for students to sit down and write. He likes the fact that it is based on the quantity of what participants write, rather than the quality.

NaNoWriMo has already started for this year, but the organization hosts Camp NaNoWriMo every April and July, where writers can set their own word count or page goals. Both Fuss and Rainey said this would be a good starting point for anyone that is interested in the concept of NaNoWriMo, but daunted by the task.

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