Become an author, finally write a novel in November

November is National Novel Writing Month, an international phenomenon during which authors – or budding authors – challenge themselves to write a 50,000-word first draft of a novel.

Participants can create an account on and register their novel, "friend" other writing "buddies" and receive regular writing pep talks from best-selling authors such as Gene Luen Yang, Charlaine Harris, Diana Gabaldon, John Green and others.

Writing happens off-site, either by typing into a Word document or crafting with good old pencil and paper, but participants are encouraged to log their daily word count of 1,667 words and join in online forums for support to help them stay on track to reach their word count goal.

The Merrimack Public Library will again serve as a "Come Write In" location; authors are invited to come right in and use the library as their "writing office" if they find it easier to concentrate away from distractions they may have at home.

Additionally, our kickoff event is scheduled for 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Oct. 29, and we will host a panel of three authors from the Sisters In Crime New England chapter, Maureen "Mo" Walsh, Amy Ray and Kate Flora, who will share stories about their writing process and experience with publishing.

It’s a great time for returning participants to meet up, as well as for first-timers to gain a better understanding of how the monthlong event operates.

Walsh has published short mystery fiction in Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine, Woman’s World and five Level Best Books anthologies of "Best New England Crime Stories: Windchill," "Still Waters," "Deadfall," "Thin Ice" and "Blood Moon." She has been a Derringer Award finalist and a winner of the Mary Higgins Clark Short Mystery-Suspense contest. As a member of the Monday Murder Club, she is a co-author of "A Miscellany of Murder." Walsh’s current novel originated as a Nano project, so she has some tips for success.

Ray, a native of Merrimack, is a writer of suspense novels for adults, children’s middle grade adventure novels and picture books. Her mystery-thriller "Dangerous Denial" was published in April 2014 by Barking Rain Press. She has a short story featured in "Love Free Or Die," the fourth book in the New Hampshire Pulp Fiction Series from Plaidswede Publishing.

Flora’s many books include seven Thea Kozak mysteries, four gritty police procedurals – "Playing God," "The Angel of Knowlton Park," "Redemption" and "And Grant You Peace" – "Steal Away," a suspense thriller (written as Katharine Clark); two true crimes – "Finding Amy," a 2007 Edgar nominee, and "Death Dealer," involving an international collaboration to catch a brutal Canadian killer; and a co-written Maine game warden’s memoir, "A Good Man with a Dog." She teaches writing at Grub Street in Boston.

To register for the National Novel Writing Month Kickoff, visit

For more information about National Novel Writing Month, visit

Submitted by Yvette Couser, MLS,
director, Merrimack Public Library