For many of us, just reading an entire novel can be a daunting task, but a group of local writers are taking part in a nationwide contest where they have to write a novel--and they have to do it in thirty days.
November is National Novel Writing Month, and the WriterHouse in Charlottesville is giving aspiring writers a place to speed-write their 50,000 page manuscript.
This year, the WriterHouse is opening its doors to all participants.
50,000 words is about 175 pages. Liz Tidwell is already at 40,000 words.
"I expect that it will be 70,000 eventually," said Tidwell.
The contest gets people writing and the emphasis is on quantity of words, not necessarily quality. Published author Christie Strick says so much of writing is about getting started.
"So often you try to write at home and you're so easily distracted by everything that happens during the day," explained Strick, the President and a founding member of the WriterHouse. "Anything you can do to avoid writing you'll do."
Another founding member of the WriterHouse wrote a novel before but,
"Not in thirty days," said Rachel Unkefer, Vice-President with a laugh,"I've spent the last four or five years writing a novel and I'm on my third draft of that novel, but I set that aside for November."
They offer writing courses and space for writers to interact with others. For some, the social aspect motivates them to get through the difficult contest.
"This is the halfway point," said Tidwell. "I thought it would probably be a good idea to meet some people who are also participating in the project."
Louise Ball, a WriterHouse member has already written 30,000 words, which is 5,000 ahead of schedule.
"I've thought about doing this every year, but I've never really had a reason to knuckle down and do it, so I had a go at it last year, and I really enjoyed it. I decided I would definitely do it this year."
Louise is a former Microbiologist and she spends about three hours a day writing. This year she's determined to submit a finished work.
"I'm doing OK I'm five thousand words ahead, but my goal this year is to finish the story and,actually, my last two words are going to be 'the end'," said Ball.
It's not too late to sign up for the National Novel Writing Contest. Click here to find out how you can sign up.
The WriterHouse offers courses in writing taught by graduates of creative writing programs. The winter schedule is already posted and discounts are being offered. To sign up for classes click here
[Bianca Spinosa / Charlotesville Local News]