“Ready, set, write” was the literary battle cry kicking off the first National Novel Writing Month session at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library on Oct. 25.
About 12 writers showed up with PCs and pen and paper in hand ready to tackle novel writing.
Better known as NaNoWriMo, both experienced and novice writers work toward the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel, about the length of “The Great Gatsby,” in a month.
Each Wednesday evening at 6 p.m., participants can come to the library for writing tips, encouragement and snacks as they work on their novels.
Kayla Zielinski started her fantasy novel 16 years ago, and as often happens, her fictional world took a backseat to her real life. “My goal is to complete my novel this year, and I know this group will be a big help,” Zielinski said.
Local authors Teresa Cage and Merinda Brayfield serve as the liaisons for the free sessions.
With six novels apiece, they encouraged everyone to use the main website, nanowrimo.org, along with other writing tools.
“NaNoWriMo is the most beneficial thing you can do because it puts you in the habit of writing daily to meet a deadline,” Cage said.
“I’ve made lifelong friends from NaNoWriMo and learned how to write quickly,” Brayfield said.
Free handout materials included how to create characters, the elements of a good scene and essential elements of a story, plus lots of personal advise from fellow writers.
First-time participant Kate Goulding’s contemporary psychological thriller is set in her native Australia. Although she has written short stories before, this is her first try at novel writing.
“I’ve never had the time but with this group, I’m going to meet the 50,000 words,” Goulding said.
Eighteen years ago NaNoWriMo, a nonprofit organization, was founded. Participants can register for free at nanowrimo.org to log their progress and share tips in the forums.
Last year more than 380,000 people took on the challenge.
That‘s the motivation Nicole Helvetius needs.
“You always have an idea and NaNoWriMo is a great way to jump start your writing and keep you going.”