Creating Worlds from Nothing

Students Take Part in National Novel Writing Month


Art by R'yn Miller

National Novel Writing Month, known throughout the Internet as NaNoWriMo, is an online event that lasts all of November. Participants attempt to write a 50,000 word novel by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 30. December through February are known as the “Now What?” months, in which the writers can take the time to go back and edit, revise, and seek help on getting their novel published if they wish. “Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen is one of the most famous books to be made through this process, and was made into a movie released on April 22, 2011.

One such participant is junior Kameelah Pope, and though the looming deadline stresses her out at times, being forced to commit herself to her writing sometimes helps to spark the creativity in her mind. Similar to the way that athletes dedicate themselves to their sport, she dedicates herself to writing no matter how tedious it is to find the time. However, she said that writing keeps her at ease and helps relieve her stress and frustration which makes the challenge of making time a bit less daunting.

“I like that NaNoWriMo highlights that there is an entire community of writers that need a push,” she said. “If you need it to feel like a responsibility, it can be very helpful.”

Pope is currently writing her first novel. The story will follow a young girl named Veronica Alderlight as she navigates a dark world, unraveling family secrets and discovering her destiny. The writing process has been going on for a year and a half, but the time spent on background work such as outlining and character descriptions brings up the grand total to three years. While this might seem tedious and almost frustrating for some, Pope said the chance to think up a fantastic new world and bring it to life on paper is worth the time spent writing, even if it is hard to first come up with an original idea.

“I have a plot line that is kind of like Percy Jackson, so I made her an orphan, but then it ended up being a lot like Harry Potter,” she said. “You don’t want to seem like you’re copying other people, but sometimes you have to do it because you may feel like you could do it better.”

Another author-to-be at Rider High School is junior Kerri Lu. Between schoolwork and life outside of the classroom, she enjoys writing short stories whenever she is struck by inspiration.  Part of that inspiration came when she used to read a bunch of novels as a child. She said while she was reading them, creative ideas for her own would start coming through.

“I like the language and all the metaphors, but also the idea of creating something out of nothing,” she said.

However, it seems like the amount of faithful bookworms is slowly declining as the years go on. A survey by the Pew Research Center in 2014 found that nearly a quarter of the American population hadn’t read a single book during the previous year.  However, while those figures may seem daunting, an author who writes for the fun of it may not find their work too heavily affected.

“Pretty much everyone just goes on the internet and looks at social media instead of actually reading books,” said Lu. “Since most books are probably not going to get read, there are only a few that get famous anyways, it’s mainly just for my own satisfaction.”

Hopefully with the rising popularity of audiobooks and eBooks, by the time this generation’s writers are ready to publish their own amazing stories the number of readers will be rising too. Even if that doesn’t happen though, one day someone dying for something different to read will be ecstatic to find a whole new collection of fantastical worlds sitting on a bookstore shelf, waiting to be discovered.