Home > News > Nation
Monday October 21, 2013 MYT 9:29:00 AM
Monday October 21, 2013 MYT 12:09:49 PM
by dina murad
PETALING JAYA: The month of November will see a large group of dedicated writers testing themselves, slaving over overheated laptops or wearing out ballpoint pens by the hundreds, in an all-out effort to create their own fiction novels.
If you've ever dreamed of becoming a novelist, why not join them? Try and test your penchant with a pen and find the courage for composition!
This is the time to take up the challenge and see how far your imagination brings you, for November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
Throughout the month, both professional and aspiring novelists will push themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days in any genre of fiction, be it high fantasy, chic-lit, or even fan fiction.
The annual Internet-based creative writing competition accepts entries from all over the world despite its name, and is not only limited to the English language. The event has spurred the publication of books in a variety of other tongues since its origins in 1999.
To be considered a "winner", a writer must reach the 50,000 word mark, with his word-count being tabulated in the official NaNoWriMo website.
From 2006, there have been more than 100 NaNoWriMo works released by traditional publishing houses such as Penguin, Scholastic, HarperCollins and Random House. Hundreds of others have been adopted by independent or smaller publishers.
Malaysian "Wrimos" have not lagged behind, being active in the challenge and doing the nation proud through their writing.
Patricia Pinto, 29, a social media specialist, has been a dedicated Wrimo for the past eight years. According to Pinto, she took up the one-month dare as a way to start writing fiction.
"I first tried it while in college. At the time, I liked writing but never had a reason to force myself to start. It turned out to be a good exercise in imagination," said the fantasy writer.
When Pinto first begun her life as a Wrimo, she had difficulty reaching the 50,000 word mark.
"The first three years, I couldn't get to 50,000!” said Pinto, who has since managed to 'win' the challenge a number of times.
"The satisfaction of accomplishing the initial 50,000 words is where everything feels worthwhile. That's when you know you've written something you never thought you could," she said.
This year will be copywriter Chong May Yin's fourth attempt at NaNoWriMo.
The 26 year-old takes part in the competition every year to keep her writing in practice.
"Everyone has a story to tell," she said, "This is the perfect opportunity to let the story out."
When asked what advice she would give to those fearful of "giving birth" to horrible writing, Chong said they should not worry as the goal of NaNoWriMo was not to produce a flawless novel.
"Don't be afraid of terrible writing. The first draft is never perfect. The important thing is to express your ideas," she said.
Calvin Wong, 27, has seen a "winning" streak of six consecutive years ever since his first NaNoWriMo experience in 2007.
"I initially took up the challenge to see if I could do it. When I reached the word mark, it was a gigantic boost of confidence," said Wong, who explained that many young writers would not fully understand their individual capabilities without a push like NaNoWriMo.
According to the creative writing teacher, the hardest part of his NaNoWriMo journey was when he realised he wasn't happy with his previous writings.
"In my third year, after finishing 50,000 words, I realised that my first 100,000 words of the past two years were terrible!" said Wong, who added that he felt grateful at the same time because he also understood that he had improved as a writer.
"It was tough having to let go of an idea that I was working on for years. In knowing that the story didn't work anymore. Nevertheless, I learned a lot about writing through the experience," he said and explained that the practice allowed him to refine his characters and plots.
Pinto, Chong and Wong are only a few of the many writers in Malaysia who have created their own intricate ink and paper universes in a span of one month. This year, NaNoWriMo continues on its mission in inspiring novelists across the world to start scribbling away.
Endorsed by literary royalty the likes of Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman and James Patterson, 2013's NaNoWriMo hopes to pull in more participants than ever before.
The "competition", open to all, will reward its its "winners" with goodie bags which include up to 50% discounts on various writing software and services, two free paperback copies of their novel by CreateSpace, and 10 free selected e-books from popular e-book seller Kobo.
To welcome new participants and promote camaraderie, the Malaysian chapter of NaNoWriMo will have its first meet-up at Starbucks, Paradigm Mall at 10.30am on Oct 26.
For registration and further information, please visit the website.
Tags / Keywords:
Lifestyle, NaNoWriMo, novels, literature
Copyright © 1995-2013 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)