News: Writers welcome for National Novel Writing Month
Story by Christine Cabalo
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - The right time to write is now for Marine Corps Base Hawaii residents and workers, with the base library hosting several events for National Novel Writing Month.
The challenge is for writers to compose 50,000 words of a novel by the end of the month. The event started in 1999 and has since fostered a non-profit organization encouraging writing. More than 196,000 aspiring novelists have signed up this year, including international writers.
Participants can visit the base library for “Write-In” sessions, gathering together for writing help, and join in discussions with two local mystery authors.
“People think their ideas aren’t good enough for paper, but they shouldn’t think that,” said Meredith Healey, the base library’s supervisory librarian. “They should give writing a shot. If you’re interested in writing at all, that’s enough to participate.”
Those taking on the challenge may write at their own pace, but should strive to finish the word count by the deadline, said Kristin Molnar, who is the office automations clerk at the base library. Molnar has previously participated in the challenge and will be assisting with the base’s “Write-In” sessions. She said people may be intimidated by trying to finish an average of 1,666 words per day, but the process of getting ideas onto the page is the most important for her.
“Writing is a good way to work through all kinds of stress,” Molnar said. “It can do different, positive things for people.”
Molnar said although she’s never completed the final word count goal, she is always eager for the challenge. She and Healey said having a supportive group of fellow writers and a resource for research, like the base library, can lead to writing breakthroughs.
“You don’t know how many writers you know, until you all get together and talk about writing,” Healey said. “It’s a lonely process, and the goal is to bring writers together and connect with mentors.”
The base library will bring in writing mentors during November, for two evening discussions on novel composition with a question and answer session after their talks.
Gene Parola, a former Naval air intelligence officer and retired professor of cultural history, will be the first to talk, Thursday. Parola is the author of Hawaiian historical mystery “Lehua” and conspiracy thriller “Devil to Pay.” He will speak about how to begin a novel and offer tips on mystery writing.
Parola said he approves of the challenge because it encourages participants to make time to write and follow a deadline. Good writing includes a lot of drafting, he said.
“You must write something down,” Parola said. “Then you must rewrite it several times, then you must edit it several times and then put it away for a while and then edit it again.”
Later in the month, Douglas Corleone will speak about how to publish a completed novel during a talk scheduled Nov. 20. Corleone, who has published several legal thrillers, will release his newest book featuring fictional former U.S. Marshall Simon Fisk next year. He advises potential writers to consider their favorite novels and incorporate what makes them great into their own writing. To make the most of the month, he suggests they follow their passions and learn about new
subjects that interest them.
“Be fearless with your writing,” Corleone said. “No one has to see this first draft if you don’t want them to. So don’t hold back. Make your characters larger than life. Fight your interior editor and keep moving forward.”
The National Novel Writing Month events are some of several new programs the base library is scheduling for adults. Healey said the library staff is also considering a new book club and a permanent writing club if there is additional interest. Both Healey and Molnar said they’re looking forward to gathering up a writing community that can offer each other support.
“Normally, no one tells you to keep going on to write,” Healey said. “This month is great because it provides a lot of motivation.”
With additional motivation and support, aspiring novelists won’t be a footnote but write the book.
For more information, call the library at 254-7624.