Mystic Magic: National Novel Writing Month

Grace Cavanaugh ~ Staff Writer

Week two of NaNoWriMo is upon us, and it is not too late to join the hundreds of thousands of writers participating. What is NaNoWriMo you ask? Well, dear reader, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. November is this such month, where writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 novels.

I have participated in NaNo for the past three years. My first year, I was 16 and had been writing creatively for around 4 years. I had an idea for a story, wrote out a plot, and started the novel…only to quit at around 1500 words. That story has never seen the light of day since I stopped writing it, and probably never will.

The next year, I decided to write with a story that I had already started. Macabre is a story that I started in high school after I finished my first “novel” for a project. My first book was 115 Word doc pages, which was 54,000 words of a high schooler’s idea of romance. My writing friend, Anna, liked it, but I personally was not too happy with it. Instead, I wanted to write something that was more…realistic. It also happened to be around the time my aunt got me to read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and the idea for Macabre was born.

Macabre at least got further than my first try at NaNo. I wrote 12,000 words out of my 50,000 word goal. I was proud of myself, because I had gotten past my word count from the year before. Since then, Macabre has even grown and evolved, where my first story did not.

The next year, 2017, I wanted to do something similar to the last year, where I chose a book I had already started and went from there. This time, I chose the sequel to the first book I had finished. Gauntlet beat Macabre by 8,000 words, and then I stopped. Of course, Gauntlet has also grown from then, and many rewrites later I am finally on a track I like.

This year, I have taken a more rebellious approach to NaNo. Historically, NaNo is a time to start with a blank Word document and write 50,000 words. My story for this year already has 54,000 words, but that does not mean those 54,000 words are any good. It is the only story that I have finished as of yet, but it is far from being completed. The story needs heavy editing, which is why I am using it for NaNoWriMo 2018.

Writing is hard, which is why NaNo exists. It pushes writers to create worlds that would otherwise sit in mostly-blank Word docs, unopened and unfinished. 50,000 words seems like a lot, and it is, and it is a struggle to get there, but the satisfied feeling you get from reaching that goal.

If you are interested in participating, nanowrimo.org is free to join. If you do not think that you could write a novel with the remainder of November, there is Camp NaNoWriMo during the summer, which is also free to join at campnanowrimo.org.