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November is novel writing month

By Tori Wittenbrock

To kick off November as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), Brown County Library held a Novel Writing Workshop for local writers Oct. 29 at the Central Library.

Envisioned by Katie Boettcher, research librarian, the daylong event featured multiple speakers, including Dr. Rebecca Meacham, a successful writer and professor at the UW-Green Bay (UWGB) as the keynote speaker.

Meacham’s speech, “Nurturing your Novel from Birth to Maturity,” covered topics such as how to continue to develop your novel in the months following the completion of a writer’s first draft.
Meacham said that novel writing is no easy feat.

“Novel writing requires more than having a fabulous idea,” Meacham said. “You need enthusiasm, endurance, commitment, and motivation. Community writing workshops and write-ins, like NaNoWriMo and others, help build excitement for a tough challenge, the way a race brings people together to accomplish difficult, seemingly impossible, goals.”

Workshops are a good way to develop your skills as a novelist, according to Meacham.

“As writers, you are announcing, publicly, to a group of other people: ’I am going to try to write a novel. Hold me accountable. Celebrate my growing word counts. Cheer me on.’ It’s the best kind of hype music for an activity that’s otherwise pretty isolating, with rewards that can be years away.”

The next part of the day included a series of activities to motivate writers to create a word count calendar, the opportunity to work with writing prompts, exchange ideas with other writers and to participate in a series of storytelling games.

Anyone in the community was welcome to attend the event, listen to the speeches and presentations and attend the workshops.

Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in Q&A sessions throughout the day.

The event wrapped up with a series of “Creative Exercises” to help writers with worldbuilding and character development led by Julialicia Case, a professor at UWGB.

“Being among other writers — whether in person at a workshop or reading, or online via Twitter, newsletters or subscriptions to journals — can really help your mindset when working with a long project, like a novel,” said Dr. Meacham. “NaNoWriMo is a fun, interactive, goal-setting and goal-fulfilling flurry, but it only lasts for one month.”

Meacham said that by building connections during NaNoWriMo, writers can sustain their enthusiasm for their project, get feedback on their work in progress and find comfort and commiseration in people experiencing the same challenges.

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