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Saint Mary’s students complete national writing challenge

| Thursday, November 30, 2017

Saint Mary’s students Mary Brophy and Dalanie Beach, a senior and a sophomore respectively, took part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November. As the month draws to a close, the two students said that the month had been a positive experience.

“It was good,” Brophy said. “It was extremely busy because I had to put three separate pieces together to get my final total instead of just writing one like I normally do.”

Beach said her NaNoWriMo was similarly successful.

“My month went really well,” Beach said. “I actually managed to stay ahead, which I think is mostly due to what I chose to write about.”

Both Brophy and Beach said for them the most challenging part of the month was finding the time to write.

“I have three classes a day, I was in the play [Once a Belle], work and other extracurricular things so just finding time,” Beach said. “Often, I was racing the clock to midnight, trying to get my word count in.”

Brophy agreed that her busy schedule made the month more difficult.

“I think it was finding time to work on my novel because normally I don’t worry too much about finding time but because I was taking so many credits this semester I actually I had to search for time to write which was frustrating,” Brophy said.  

The opportunity to revise an earlier draft of her work was a highlight of the experience, Brophy said.

“I think it would be finishing the first section of my [senior composition] and revising it to the point where I liked it … normally you are just writing out anything you can, just getting words on the pages,“ Brophy said. “But actually having the opportunity to … completely rewrite the thing I was working to the point where it’s actually good was an unusual surprise.”

Beach said focusing on the plot of her story, as opposed to the characters, was an interesting part of writing this year.

“Normally … I’ll think of a character I want to write about, which is what I did last year, and the plot just came as I was going,” Beach said. “This time I started with the plot and the characters came as I was going. It was cool to see that reversal happen.”

This year, Brophy said she learned to accept the point of NaNoWriMo is the act of writing and not necessarily completing a project.

“In years past I haven’t taken as many credits or wasn’t even in college yet, so I had time,” she said. “[This year has been] a good reminder that I don’t have to win every year; I definitely push myself to hit that 50,000 word count but I was really close to not getting there so I think I learned it’s okay to not finish NaNoWriMo, as long as I am doing some writing.”

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