It’s nearly upon us, National Novel Writing Month. Also known in its awkwardly catchy abbreviated form NaNoWriMo, November might be a productive month for you. Let’s learn more with Liz Bradley, one of our municipal liaisons for the effort.
BOOK CITY ★ Roanoke: First, what’s the goal of National Novel Writing Month?
Liz Bradley: NaNoWriMo believes that everyone has a story inside them, and that we just need that little push to get it down on paper. The organization combines communities online and in-person to help people tell their stories. The goal for each NaNoWriMo participant is simply to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. It comes out to writing about 1667 words each day.
BCR: How many years have you participated?
LB: This will be my third event. I completed my first NanoWrimo in November of 2014. I took a year off in 2015, but participated again last year. This year I will be working as a volunteer municipal liaison, coordinating events in the area. The very first NaNoWriMo took place in 1999. The international effort has been around for 18 years.
BCR: How many people in our region participated last year?
LB: Last year we had about 260 people signed up for the Virginia: Elsewhere region which includes the Roanoke area. We are hoping that if we get enough local participation we can have our own seperate region in future years.
BCR: That’s a good goal. Let’s sell it a bit. How has NaNoWriMo helped your writing?
LB: Prior to NanoWriMo I hadn’t really ever finished anything. I had stacks of ideas and half-finished manuscripts. NaNoWrimo taught me how to ‘write hot, edit cold.’ Put another way, you can’t edit a blank page, and now I have the tools to take a story from the spark of an idea to a fully realized and polished piece that I can be proud of. The only way to get better at writing is to keep practicing, and NaNo is a great tool for that.
BCR: Tell me a little more about your writing.
LB: My favorite genre is science fiction, but really anything with a speculative lens is worth exploring in my book. Outside of two NaNoWriMo novels, which are both in revision now, I write a lot of flash fiction, kind of the polar opposite of what we are looking to accomplish during NaNoWriMo. Flash fiction is any complete story under 1,000 words. I like the challenge of creating a compelling narrative in a very limited space.
BCR: How can folks contact you?
LB: On the NaNoWriMo website my username is ejsmith3130, and if you select our region you will see me in the forums. Or just come out to the prep events. The first event is Saturday, October 28 at the Raleigh Court Library.
- Read the official press release.
- Visit www.nanowrimo.org.
- Follow the local effort on Facebook.
- Attend the first event on October 28 (1-3 PM) at the Raleigh Court Library.
BCR: And then get writing.
LB: And then get writing! ★