Wednesday, November 5, 2008

War of words under way between Maryland and Texas

The grueling war between Marylanders and Texans rages on.

About 200 Marylanders are trying to write more prose than Texans in 30 days. In its third year, the mentally taxing competition occurs during National Novel Writing Month, when novice and published writers in pockets across the country write 1,700 words a day from Nov. 1 through Nov. 30. That’s 50,000 words or 175 manuscript pages per person by the end of this month.

“This year, we are the amazing underdog as our super-secret weapon John Caeraerie, who wrote over 500,000 words last year, moved to Texas. He’s now on the other team,” said Carol Remsburg, who heads Maryland’s team, called the Blue Crabs versus the Texans’ Lushguins.

About 30 novels written during previous National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) are published or under-contract, according to the NaNoWriMo Web site. The most successful story is Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants.” The novel hit the New York Times Best-sellers List in 2007.

Lee Budar-Danoff, a Columbia mom of a toddler and 6-year-old twins, said she amazed herself when she completed her first NaNoWriMo four years ago. “I’m a procrastinator, so to be able to sit down and bang out a couple thousand words at a time is exhilarating.

“To go from saying ‘One day, I’ll write a novel’ and actually becoming a novelist is what I support,” she continued. “People choose to take their novels as far as they like. Some do it for fun, some for practice, and for some, they eventually want to be published. My goal is to be published.”

For Rosalia Scalia, a lifelong Little Italy resident who has published a collection of short stories, the real challenge of NaNoWriMo is “shutting up the editor in my head who is always thinking ‘How can I say this better?’ So I tell myself, ‘In December, I’ll revise. For now, write.’ ”


It’s not too late to begin your novel during National Novel Writing Month. To register, visit

[Kelly Carson / The Baltimore Examiner]

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