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Mon, Oct. 14

National Novel Writing Month makes writing a game

PRESCOTT - If you've ever wanted to write the "Great American Novel," you'll appreciate NaNoWriMo, a game in which people try to get 50,000 words on paper by the end of the month.

"There's a group run out of San Francisco that gets as many people as possible to write a novel during the month of November," Yavapai College creative writing instructor Kristen Kauffman said, explaining that it started as a bet among college students.

In the Prescott region, there are 479 people playing the game, writing their novels, she said.

At YC, the English Club spearheads various activities such as "write-ins" to encourage people to write and work collaboratively to finish the project on time, Kauffman said.

Many players use tricks to reach their word count, such as refusal to use contractions or inclusion of other school assignments as characters' in-novel projects.

"The objective is to write 2,000 words a day," she said. "And on, they have plenty of pep talks by published authors" to encourage budding writers, which are known as "nanohacks."

"I know of one writer in the Prescott region who says that she is including recipes in her project," Kauffman said, "and she'll literally type in the recipe of what she's eaten that day."

It started as a nanohack, but has actually developed into a good storytelling device, Kauffman said.

She pointed out that some published works, such as "Water for Elephants," by Sara Gruen, were National Novel Writing Month projects.

Learn more about the game at

Follow Scott Orr on Twitter @AZNewsguy.

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