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National Novel Writing Month

While some are planning their turkey dinners or starting their Christmas shopping, an estimated 400,000 writers in 200 countries are attempting to finish a novel by the end of the month.

November is National Novel Writing Month. The event began in 1999. It challenges people to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days, Timothy Kim said in a press release. Kim is the organization’s editorial director.

The National Novel Writing Month organization is calling 2014 the year of “Your Boundless Novel.”

The organization’s “Come Write In” program is partnering with 700 libraries, including two in Alachua County, to provide places for participants to work on their novels, said Nicki Kortus, the marketing and public relations manager.

Adults and teenagers can meet Mondays from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Millhopper library, 3145 NW 43rd St.

The headquarters library is holding discussion groups for writers to review their progress and critique each other’s work. These meetings are on Tuesdays from 6 to 8:45 p.m. at 401 E University Ave.

More than 250 novels written as a part of National Novel Writing Month have been published. Some of the well-known titles include “Water for Elephants” by Sarah Gruen, “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern and “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer. Meyer visited Gainesville over the summer for Alachua County Libraries’ “Battle of Books” event for young adult readers, Kortus said.

Lizzie May, an international affairs major, participated in the event when she was a senior in high school.

“I wanted to do Nation Novel Writing Month just to prove to myself that I could pull it off,” she said. “I didn’t think I could do it.”

May, 18, said she previously did not have the motivation to put her story ideas on paper.

“I used National Novel Writing Month as the kick in the pants I needed to get that story written down,” she said.

She said she did not take advantage of any of the groups offered by the local libraries. She did reach out to her father, who is also a writer, when she would lose focus.

“The middle was the hardest,” she said. “You know how you want it to end, but you just can’t get your characters through the story. It’s rough.”

The last week of the month was the easiest part of her experience, May said. She wrote 15,000 words in three days. She finished her novel two days early.

“Participating was a huge confidence booster,” she said. “Just the fact that I pulled it off made me so proud of myself.”

She said she would recommend the process to other writers who are looking for a challenge or the motivation to finish the first draft of a story.

“There were times I really hated it,” she said. “Writing is hard, but if you believe you can do it, you can do it.”

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