One month, one novel

Anne Nickoloff, Staff Reporter

The month of November has passed and with it, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo): the challenge to write 50,000 words in a few weeks.

For 30 days, various Writers Writing Words (WWW) club members fought to achieve specific word goals. While the NaNoWriMo has its suggested word counts, even the writers who didn’t meet the goal still are happy to have participated in the worldwide writing challenge.


Heather Pantell, who reached the NaNoWriMo goal and continued to write, plans on finishing her novel in the future.

How she feels now that November is over: It’s weird.

Does she plan on participating in NaNoWriMo again: Yes, it was a lot of fun!

Word count at the end of the month: 51,048+

An excerpt from her novel:
“My heart was racing and my breath was short. I had to get out of there. If I didn’t do anything, I would die. In slow motion, I could see the dragon rearing back its head, sucking in oxygen to breath back at me in the form of fire. I would be roasted on the spot. My father, after finding my body, would say that if I hadn’t been so attached to my books, perhaps we would have had a dragon meat feast instead of a funeral. My mother would weep. All these images flooded through my head, but I still could not move. It was as if my body froze over. I was paralyzed. Paralyzed and about to be roasted alive.

And then she came.

A girl appeared in front of me. She held her arms out and hissed at the dragon. I must be dreaming, the sane part of my brain thought. What girl would stand between a dragon and its prey? And why would she hiss. But nearly all of my attention was still on the dragon and the fire that suddenly burst from its mouth. I felt the heat as it raced forward. The dancing red and yellow flames rushing towards me to create a nobleman roast.

But the flames never reached me. I wasn’t dead.

Because the girl standing in front of me grabbed the flame from the air and wrapped it around her body like cloth.”


Though Sue Westrell’s computer was dead for most of the last half of the month, she still kept up some of her writing for the challenge.

How she feels now that November is over: Not that I was the most regular writer, but I’m sad that yet again, I wasn’t able to actually get through it.

Does she plan on participating in NaNoWriMo again: Yeah. I do want to finish this story at some point!

Word count at the end of the month: 4,000

An excerpt from her novel:
“Only a few minutes away, a somewhat bemused trainee watched the girl he was shadowing taking the food order of two children. Five tacos and five burritos seemed like an awfully ridiculous order for two children who looked like they were the width of one of his arms and maybe the weight of his arm too. It was even weirder that the one kid had a credit card, but he wasn’t going to question that, not after noticing that her wallet was seriously nice leather. Stupid rich kids, getting credit cards while he was stuck learning to make burritos for them.

Grabby and Hitty killed time while waiting for their food by guzzling down the two sodas they’d ordered and editing the plan Grabby had initially outlined for their group, making it more streamlined and identifying some more goals. Just because Grabbyhands was the leader didn’t mean she didn’t take input from her co-conspirators for world domination (as long as said input didn’t involve calling Batman comics stupid or whining about them—she had to make sure no one besmirched Catwoman’s name, after all). By the time their food was done, an impressive fifteen minutes after ordering, they’d managed to add almost sixteen more ideas.”


Almost reaching her personal goal of 25,000 words, Tasha Smith was still happy with getting as far as she did in the NaNoWriMo challenge.

How she feels now that November is over: It’s a bit of a relief to not feel pushed to continue writing during finals week. But just because NaNo’s over doesn’t mean I put the pen down for a year.

Does she plan on participating in NaNoWriMo again: I always attempt NaNoWriMo, but it’s another question entirely to ask if I think I’ll try to win it next year. I’m much more comfortable with Summer WriMo and Script Frenzy, because they come around during a much less busy time of year. To anyone who worries about the time commitment in NaNo, I highly recommend looking into either of the alternatives.

An excerpt from her novel:
“And she finally turns around!” the girl mused. A smile of disproportionate excitement contorted her face. “Hey stranger, you look lost. Where you heading?”

Hanna looked around her with some desperation. The hooded figures were surprisingly content to continue shuffling idly around the tent, ignoring the sudden sounds of conversation. Her nerves still on edge, she replied curtly, “Just out on a walk.” She chewed her lip before adding a quick, “I didn’t mean to disturb anyone. Or anything.”

“So you are lost!” the girl exclaimed gleefully. “Oh, you’re new, you’re new. What a time to be alive. Marvelous. Yes. So!” She clapped her hands together. As one, the cloaked figures snapped to attention. “Let’s begin.”

Ann Elise Campo, who also participated in the NaNoWriMo challenge, was unavailable for comment at press time.