National writing competition coming to a close
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, is an online competition at www.nanowrimo.org for aspiring writers to produce 50,000 words in the month of November. The Other Press introduced readers to the competition earlier this month, but for any of you who feel it’s too late to complete your novel by the deadline, Douglas College has a solution.
Carmen Fowle, a Douglas student and NaNoWriMo municipal leader, hosts Write-In meetings at the David Lam campus in Coquitlam for students and local writers to get together and work on their novels. She chose the David Lam campus when she organized the meetings last year because the Tri-City area didn’t have a Write-In event for writers to get together at. Write-Ins happen in Room B2340 every Wednesday from 6:30 to 9 p.m., with the final session on November 27.
Getting together with other writers can be useful for motivation, especially with Word Wars, a 15- to 20-minute writing period where Write-In attendees are encouraged to write as many words as possible and overcome any writer’s block.
“In the spirit of NaNo, it’s more quantity over quality. The idea is that you can always go back and revise it later to get the quality,” Fowle explained.
One of the highest word counts she’s seen in a Word War at Douglas was about 800 words in 15 minutes achieved last year.
“If you want to hit that 50,000 goal or even a lower goal that you’ve set for yourself, just make sure you set a little bit of time aside for yourself every day. It’s like studying: you have to set that time, sit down, and just madly type. It doesn’t matter what’s going on the page, it’s something and it’s better than nothing,” Fowle said.
If a writer doesn’t reach the word count by the end of November, he or she can always compete again the following November. While the word count is important, part of the competition’s purpose is to encourage writers to dedicate a month to writing in order to produce a novel in 30 days.
“No matter what total you have at the end of the month, that’s still more words than you had at the start of the month,” Fowle said. “Especially when you’re juggling school and work, it’s an accomplishment.”
Cheryl Fowle, a Langara College student and Carmen’s sister, has competed in several years of the NaNoWriMo competition, but instead of shooting for the 50,000-word goal, she sets personal goals.
“Every year, I’ve beaten my word count,” she said. “Even though I haven’t won, I’ve just kept going at it and this year I’ve continued the trend and maybe will be able to make it.”
She has already broken the halfway mark of 25,000 words.
When Carmen Fowle needed motivation to complete her novel one year, she headed over to the NaNoWriMo online chat room.
“I wrote 15,000 words on November 30, which was a pretty impressive feat,” she explained. “I had a plate of food sitting beside me for six hours that day. It was uneaten because a lot of the people that I was in the chat word-warring with would not let me eat until I was done.”
If you want to finish your novel by the end of the month, grab your laptop or a pen and paper and head down to the David Lam campus for some last-minute motivation and inspiration.