National Novel Writing Month Encourages Aspiring Authors

Posted: October 19, 2011 at 1:04 am, Last Updated: October 18, 2011 at 7:38 pm

By Erin Cushing

Many Mason students have experience with writing on deadlines. But even the most dedicated scholar would shudder at this assignment: 50,000 words in 30 days. Yet that is exactly what the English Department is encouraging the Mason community to accomplish during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which returns to campus Nov. 1.

NaNoWriMo is a national initiative that began in 1999. Mason participated last year, with 40 writers working on their pieces throughout the month. Twelve actually completed the project and wrote 50,000-word novels, at around 175 pages each. This year, the English Department hopes to have even more Mason community members take part in the program.

“There are a lot of students on campus who are interested in creative writing,” says Debra Lattanzi Shutika, director of English Undergraduate Programs. “Some may never think about taking a creative writing course, such as ENGH 398: Introduction to Creative Writing, but they may want to try their hand at writing a novel. The English Department wants to support those students by offering them a forum where they can be introduced to a community of writers.”

The department will be hosting an opening pizza party and workshop to celebrate NaNoWriMo on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. in Robinson Hall A, Room 447. The workshop will be led by writer Colleen Kearney Rich, MFA ’95, editorial director in Creative Services, and will serve as an introduction to the NaNoWriMo project and a discussion about the resources available to writers. Refreshments will be provided.

The department will also host weekly write-ins where writers can congregate to work on their individual projects or share and receive feedback from fellow authors. The write-ins will take place on Mondays from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in Robinson Hall A, Room 447, and on Thursdays in Fenwick Library from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

NaNoWriMo on campus will conclude on Thursday, Dec. 8, with a party for all participants. At this event, the English Department will present awards to students who finish their novels.

The program is open to all aspiring authors in the Mason community, although only students are eligible to win prizes.

Those interested in participating are encouraged to learn more by visiting the English Department website.

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