Thirty days. Fifty thousand words. Untold volumes of black coffee and Red Bull.
This is National Novel Writing Month. In the Stockton area alone, 85 people have decided — of their own free will — to write a short novel by the time the clock strikes midnight on Dec. 1.
At least, that’s the plan. Veterans of this international movement, which started in 1999, will tell you that “NaNoWriMo” doesn’t always go that smoothly.
They have lives, after all. Many have unrelated full-time jobs. They roll out of bed in the dark to pound out a few chapters before work, or they write late into the night and then struggle to sleep with the fates of their characters dominating their thoughts.
Every day, they live with the knowledge that if they don’t write precisely 1,666 words before going to bed, they will fall off the pace. (That’s on average, at least.)
And if they get too far behind, they may spend their Thanksgiving holiday sprinting to catch up.
“It’s been an adventure, to say the least. But I still do it every year,” said 41-year-old English teacher Tory Marinelli, who always participates with her husband, Anthony.
“This is actually how I relax,” she said. “It gives me something to do. I love it. And my TV hasn’t been on all month.”
With their novels now well underway, about a dozen participants gathered one evening this week at The Write Place, downtown Stockton’s new hangout for scribes and scribblers of all kinds.
Many of these writers are good friends, gathering throughout the month to support each other. But for a support group there isn’t much talking. Much of the time the only sound is the tapping of their fingers as their word counts climb higher (altogether some 1.2 million words had been written in Stockton by Friday afternoon.)
These writers come from all ages and backgrounds. While they work, earbuds serenade them with artists from cellist Zoe…