December means a lot of things–final exams, the holiday season, and the glory of finishing a semester. But for NaNoWriMo participants, December means the end to thirty days and nights of literary abandon. For those unfamiliar with the challenge, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an international novel writing challenge that unites professional and amateur writers alike under the same goal–to reach the coveted 50,000 word victory.
The events that unfold within those words are entirely up to the writer, but for everyone, the race to the “winner” status is a tiring, rewarding, and intense process at all once. What exactly does 50,000 words look like? To put things into perspective, I recently wrote a ten-paged history paper, which came out to around 2800 words. To become a certified NaNoWriMo winner would mean 17 more of those Medieval Studies papers. Juggling homework and club commitments and a social life is already a daunting task, but paired with the daunting goal of writing a novel in a month… how did our writers manage it?
Shreya Shanker (’14), one of six IMSA winners this year, admits that her progress had gone through a dry spell mid-November, but she devoted a lot of time to catching up during the Thanksgiving extended. “It was harder than previous years,” she says, “because break was the fourth week, so I procrastinated until then.” Shreya also provided a brief teaser from her novel:
Shaz exhaled, trying to mask her irritation. “The drug protects you, Jay. This drug is the only known drug to combat the effects of radioactive exposure in the body. You should know that. You’re not a child.”
“Right, because bombs are dropped around here all the time, right?” Jay snorted, pushing the paper back towards Shaz, not caring that it crinkled as it slid across the table. “The drug protects us from something that isn’t a threat- something that hasn’t been a threat since I was born.” Nat had told her as much back when they were Outside, though at this moment, it felt like it had been years ago. “Just admit it. There’s no way the Protector is looking out for us.”
Congratulations to everyone who worked hard this November!
Featured Image: http://nanowrimo.org/nano-flair