By ALYSSA MURPHY
Thank goodness I promised you I would write about the other people insane enough to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in the area.
To everyone who has been asking about my novel, thank you so much! Unfortunately, I haven't made as much progress as I wanted, so when you ask, I blush and feel guilty when I can't give you a crazy high number.
That's probably a good thing. Maybe it makes me write more. Keep doing that so I don't give up!
Regardless, one of the reasons I love NaNoWriMo is because we're given a task: write an average of 1,667 words a day in November so at the end of the month you have a 50,000-word novel. There aren't many rules, so the novels generated are completely different.
I posted on the website and asked some of the other writers to tell me about their novels for my column. These people were nice enough to share some information with me. They were allowed to share as much or as little as they wanted.
Kristina Solomon, of Williamsport, is participating in NaNoWrimo for the fifth time.
She's writing a fantasy and subverted fairy tale retelling. She's been developing the idea since February. As of Nov. 11, she's written 15,268 words, so apparently that development has worked for her.
The biggest challenge she expects to hurt her word count is that one of her previous books is in the back of her mind, wanting her to edit it.
She also is worried that it might not be as funny as people will expect it to be. I would say that I'm sure she'll have no problem with that, but I guess that would be putting even more pressure on her, so I'll just say good luck!
She summed up how crucial it is to have people cheering you on when I asked people about their books, "Nano, for me, is as much about the local people as it is about actually writing the book," she wrote on the forums. "I moved here last year and, even though I'd done Nano before, I hadn't had a local regional group, so I was really excited when I found out there was a group for Williamsport. I came to the first meeting last year and ended up making a lot of new friends."
Having that encouragement of people going through the same torture who know you can do it - even when you don't know it - makes the task so much easier.
Kristie Kiessling, of Mansfield, started doing NaNoWriMo in 2006. She didn't win, which means writing that 50,000th word, that first year, but she's won every year since.
Her story is a fantasy sequel. As of Nov. 11, she wrote 18,854 words, which is coming up to the number she finds to be so challenging.
"That 30,000-mark is a tough one, but once over that hump, the rest seems to coagulate into one giant word lump with outrageous plot holes," she wrote on the forum.
With a distracting family and an even more distracting social media, she still finds time to write.
Jeanie, who lives near Lewisburg, is taking on NaNoWriMo the first time this year by writing a literary novel about a woman who spends a decade in coma. Jeanie has written 4,367 words so far.
And last but not least, is Kyra, a Danville resident who attends Lock Haven University.
Like me, Kyra's also doing a superhero story. Even though at its most basic they're the same, they're actually completely different.
In hers, the story is about a young woman who is trying to stay out of the caped community, but circumstances are dragging her into it.
This is her fourth year doing NaNoWriMo. She wanted to write that story because both of the times she won NaNoWriMo, they were about powered individuals.
Her biggest challenge so far has been working on a timeline and not rushing into the parts she really wants to write. She has to keep stopping herself from jumping to those scenes so she doesn't end before she reaches 50,000.
Even though you haven't asked me, I'll answer what happens if you finish your novel before you reach 50,000 words.
Death. No, not really! People will try to encourage you to add a couple more scenes so you can reach it, but NaNoWriMo is all about finishing that novel. If you do it in 25,000 words, great. If you do it in 500,000 words, great. It's all about writing.
And in the last few paragraphs, I'll shove my progress. Don't judge me too harshly. I'm at 21,725 words, losing that wide gap I had for myself.
It's getting harder to write daily, but I don't know if it's because that warm, special glow of "Oooh, I'm writing a novel!" has faded or if it's because I've stopped plotting.
Lucky, I have my wonderful readers constantly asking me about my novel, which makes me think, "Alyssa, you probably should do some writing soon so you're not at the same word count next time they ask."
As always, feel free to add me on Twitter at @MurphyAlyssa for my latest NaNoWriMo updates or harass me about all of the days I haven't written.
Until next week, happy writing!