The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Staff Editorial: Grab that pen, write a novel in a month

Love books? Write one! November is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and some Guilford students are breaking from the norm of reading novels and instead creating one of their own.

NaNoWriMo is open for anyone to participate. During the past decade, the project’s popularity has grown worldwide with the help of the Internet.

Between 12:00 a.m. on Nov. 1 and 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 30, participants will be expected to produce a novel of at least 50,000 words. While such a length makes for a relatively short novel, it can be intimidating to first-time writers. Instead of thinking in terms of the total word requirement, NaNoWriMo’s official website recommends a daily word count goal of around 1,667 to alleviate the pressure.

In addition to the word count, NaNoWriMo participants face other challenges over the month. For one, quantity is not always quality. It is important that writers make sure their plot and characters are well-developed and consistent throughout while still trying to make a daily word count. A consistent style is also important, and British author George Orwell wrote “Politics and the English Language” that includes principles to help your style. These principles were initially designed for non-fiction but have been adapted to fiction over time and are as follows:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

The official NaNoWriMo website offers the chance to meet and talk with writers from across the world while tracking one’s process through the month. Meanwhile, GuilCo NaNoWriMo offers an at-home support group to help the College’s budding novelists make it to Nov. 30.

Join the GuilCo NaNoWriMo Facebook page at for words of encouragement and information on Quiet Writing sessions held throughout the month.

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