National Writing Challenge Is a Novel Idea

by Isabella Pilot ‘18

Four students. 30 days. 30,000 words. This November, Sherwood’s Writing Club joined prospective novelists across the globe in the National Novel Writ- ing Month Challenge (NaNoW- riMo). Participants have just one month to write a novel of their own, tracking their word count and connecting with fellow writ- ers throughout the month-long process. There are no limits to what participants can write about; in fact, the purpose of this chal- lenge is to ‘let your imagination run wild.’

The Writing Club met once or twice a week during lunch in No- vember to discuss their progress, encourage one another, and work on their novels. “These meetings give our students the opportunity to let go and get away from dai- ly life—there’s no stress, grades, or expectations here,” said me- dia specialist Stephanie Flaherty, who is also participating in the challenge.

This is Flaherty’s rst year at Sherwood, and upon her arrival she decided to begin the school’s rst ever Writing Club. “Now that the world is so focused on technology, it’s all about short thoughts and emotion. Writing programs like this allow you to expand your thought process,” she said. “Sherwood is a school with a population that is so creative, well-balanced, and passion- ate, but this is an area that needed more focus.” Junior Miranda Cundick, an aspiring author, heard about the challenge from the media cen- ter staff and decided to give it a shot. She offers advice to other students, “If you want to write, have a game plan. Organization is

something that’s necessary, even if it can be annoying at times. And please, if you want to try noveling (no, that’s not a real word), come join us in the Media Center!”

Cundick clearly takes her own advice and is using this chal- lenge in order to write a novel with a fully realized plot. “My novel is called ‘Memoirs of a Guardian,’ and it’s about a girl who discovers she’s an elf and has to deal with the repercussions, which include death threats, kid- nappings, and all sorts of other potentially lethal, fun stuff. I was inspired to write it after reading ‘Lord of the Rings’ for the ump- teenth time and wondering what an elf would have to go through in our time. Then the world of the Guardians shifted and it became my own thing,” said Cundick. “Memoirs of a Guardian” will be her fth novel.

Another interesting aspect of the challenge is the lack of edit- ing. Participants are encouraged to refrain from reading over their work or asking others for feed- back. This allows for a free- ow of thought, resulting in real, raw writing.

Aside from NaNoWriMo, the Writing Club plans on tackling other areas such as Fan Fiction later in the year. “This is another great way to let your imagination ow,” said Flaherty. They also plan on coordinating with the Olney Library for events such as next year’s NaNoWriMo Chal- lenge.