Manchester University
Oak Leaves

November 20, 2015

Junior Jessica Klemm works on her fifth revision of her young adult novel. Photo by Savannah Riley.

Writers Pen 50,000 Words for National Novel Writing Month

Erin Fralkick

During November, a small group of students meets in the Academic Center to energetically write for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo – an effort to encourage anyone who has ever wanted to write a novel to do just that. The goal is to inspire writers of every age to write 50,000 words in just 30 days.

Junior Jessica Klemm is taking part in the challenge for her second year. It’s the English major’s fifth time revising and rewriting her young adult fantasy novel. She hopes that after this time, her story will be ready for publication.

Here’s a taste of her tale: “There are some people in this world who are trees. Not in the sense that they are literally trees, but more in the sense that they are born from them and are extremely connected to that tree. This story follows the life of Ivan White, who was born from that of a White Oak…”

According to Klemm, the biggest difficulties have been “trying to figure out when I have time and trying to keep my sanity.” The writers must prioritize their time in order to meet the average goal of approximately 1,660 words per day.“School comes first,” Klemm said.

Senior Caleb Noffsinger, also an English major, is taking a more laid-back approach to NanNoWriMo. “I’m not doing this to finish the word count,” Noffsinger explains. He has taken a different approach to writing his story. In addition to writing out the plot, he is drawing the story. He says sketching helps him plan the plot and inspires moments in the book.

This is the second year NaNoWriMo has had a specific home on Manchester University’s campus. This year, it is on Thursdays in ACEN 117 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Karla Akins, a local writer and fellow participant in the program, wanted to create a quiet space for students to write because she believes it’s important to nurture young writers. She figured the best way to do that would be to create a place for them to gather with other each other. “Writing is a lonely profession,” she said.