8th graders participate in national writing competition

By staff writer Rowan Esquer

In November 2014, Bay Farm’s eighth grade was the only registered public school class to participate in a nation-wide event called NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.

Every student in the eighth grade worked on writing a novel, and two students — Gabe Manibusan and Bryan Chai — actually produced full 30,000+ -word novels during the month. Others are still working on theirs.

“NaNoWriMo was a piece of cake. I mean, the reward far out-balanced the risk: Free publishing versus losing free time,” said Manibusan. “I think it was so über easy for me because I’ve always wanted a book series and I’ve always had the plan. This little reward dangling in front of me was motivation to finally finish what I started.”

Every November, authors all across America choose to participate in this event that helps them fuel their imagination and write it in the form of a story. This is a time when authors start to write best sellers or just short stories. This month isn’t just geared towards famous authors, like J.K. Rowling or Suzanne Collins. Anyone who is willing to join in is welcome to participate!

The challenge was to write a full novel in the month of November without letting in your “inner editor.” The month was just about writing a well thought-out rough draft of a killer story without going back and editing along the way. The first step of completing this challenge was to set a word count with a goal in mind. After that, it was time to form a plot line and characterize all of the characters in the story, including villains, heroes, and side characters. After authors developed their plot line came one of the most important parts of the month: write, write, write!

“The feeling inside you when you type that last word is like walking through the gates of heaven. You’re done. The month of blood, sweat, and tears is over. You have your novel,” said Chai, who stressed that he found it difficult to stay on task. “To this day, I still have two of my classmates reading my novel, and laughing their heads off at it. That’s the best part of finishing your novel. People enjoying it. That very feeling is what makes me want to write another, and publish it for the world to see.”

Another reward for finishing their novels, presented to Chai and Manibusan by the NaNoWriMo crew, will be printed and bound versions of their novels. Any student in the future who participates and finishes a novel in the month-long period will be given the same reward: to see their book in print.

Teacher Katie Linderme hopes that next year, the entire BFMS student body will participate in this event.

“I did it in high school, but that was optional, the teachers never made it an assignment,” Ms. Linderme said. “I think this writing competition makes it easy for teachers to inspire creativity.”

NaNoWriMo has inspired countless authors to step up and attempt to write that next best-seller, and it will surely inspire more of our BFMS students in the future.

“To any future aspiring novelists, my advice would just to power through it. It’s all worth it in the end. Every single bit,” Chai said. “Even if you think you won’t make it, just write. Write write write, and you will see just how far you can go.”