NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, happens every November. The goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel by the end of the month. It comes out to about 1,700 words a day or seven pages, double-spaced, in a Word document. There’s even an official website where you can set up a profile, track your word count and provide excerpts of your novel. Caryn Rupert and Bethany Fehlinger will both be participating and giving updates about how their novels are going. Here’s some info about the writers (or “wrimos” as they’re called on nanowrimo.org.)
Who the heck are you?
Caryn: I’m Caryn, a multi-platform journalist on the Night News and Digital desk at the York Daily Record.
Bethany: I’m Bethany Fehlinger, a multi-platform journalist on the features staff at the York Daily Record.
Have you done NaNoWriMo before?
Caryn: Yes, in 2007 when I found out that NaNoWriMo was a thing you could do. It’s a fun personal challenge. I failed in 2007, but I didn’t mind. I was a busy college student, taking 18 credits worth of college courses. I also was trying to write historical fiction, which is tough.
Bethany: In 2009, I was six months out of college and looking for something to do in addition to working all night as an editor in Lewistown. I also failed, and I think that is because I was trying to write fiction for the first time. My Christian romance novel was a good general idea, but when it came to dialogue, I couldn’t make it work.
What are you writing this year?
Caryn: In college, I read “Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature” by Janice A. Radway. I’ve wanted to write a romance novel ever since. I have some good inspiration for it, and a rather elaborate plot planned out. But not too planned out. I don’t want to ruin the spontaneity of NaNoWriMo. There will be a happy ending and everyone will get what they deserve.
Bethany: I had ignored the writings of David Sedaris for some reason until sometime last year. After reading “When You Are Engulfed In Flames,” I was captured by his style. I know it isn’t a novel per se, but I plan on writing short stories about my family with fictional, humorous flair. I have absolutely no plan yet, and I should probably get on that tonight.
What challenges do you think you’ll face?
Caryn: It takes me forever to come up with names that suit my characters. My characters are always based on people I know, and it’s tempting to just name my characters after them.
Bethany: I procrastinate after I get home from work all the time. You should see my laundry pile. I also get distracted easily at home, with chores to do and other projects in the queue, including winterizing my apartment. Also, if I don’t figure out a rough plan now, I might be doomed from the start.
What do you like the most about NaNoWriMo?
Caryn: Life is so hectic. It’s good to sit down and focus on one project, while taking some time for yourself once in a while. NaNoWriMo will let me take that “me” time, but I’ll still get to be productive and I’ll have a whole novel by the end.
Bethany: I have always wanted to finish a piece of work in a different area of writing. I write articles all the time for work, but writing a novel is different. I also like structure, and I think NaNoWriMo gives me that.
Are you interested in NaNoWriMo? Visit the website; it is free to participate! There is no York group yet, but you can connect with other York residents in the Pennsylvania Elsewhere group. There also is a Harrisburg group, and both will send along encouragements and possible events to meet other wrimos.
If you’re planning to participate, leave a comment below and let us know — we’d love the company!