“Ready, set, write” was the literary battle cry kicking of​f​ ​the first ​National Novel Writing Month ​session at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library on Oct. 25.

A​bout 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, ​the​y 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 include​d​ 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​.”

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