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Participant Pep Talk from Tori J.

photo of Tori

Now, I know you’re all wondering why you’re here.

Maybe you've been nerving yourself up for years for the NaNoWriMo plunge, for the the commitment and frantic flurry of writing that comes with an impossible word-count goal. 

Or maybe you've been looking forward to this moment since last November, longing for the warm, fuzzy camaraderie that arises from thousands of really cool people working for the same accomplishment. 

Maybe you spent hours plotting (not the evil kind), or maybe you were grabbed in the shower by a crazy new idea, for example: “Hey, what if there was a super-intelligent race of space-faring goldfish?” Sitting on the bus, your mind wandered into the scintillating place Victorian murder mysteries come from. Or bored, you decided that the Bermuda Triangle sounded like a good topic, then it sucked you in... like all those lost ships.

Yes, in the front, the girl with the bushy hair—you want to know why we keep writing, not why we start?

I can answer that. You see, it’s not a matter of giving up on your story because it’s messy, or it seems unoriginal, or your principal plot doohickey just won’t doohick properly, or it’s one colossal run-on sentence.

Your story will not give up on you. You will forever want to put it down on paper, or type it into your computer, or tell it to someone else. That’s what all good stories do—they stick in your thoughts and plead for a resolution. That horde of space goldfish will not remain in their bowls forever. The murder mystery longs for a detective. Harry doesn’t particularly want to stay in that cupboard under the stairs for the rest of his literary life. Everyone’s ugly duckling of a story will eventually turn into a swan.

And why do stories do this to you? (Put your hand down, Granger.)

Stories insist on being written because they are necessary. They inspire the people who read them to become braver, kinder, or wiser through the characters' examples. That magical, unique capability will eventually, and already has, changed the world.

No matter how crazy your story is right now, it has the potential to go out into the world and do something truly noble: turn human beings into better people. Storytelling is a kind of higher calling, and if you have a story to share, you have been chosen to do something absolutely no one else on the planet can do right: tell it.

Your quest begins now.

It may not be throwing the Ring into the fires of Mount Doom, or defeating Professor Moriarty, or taking down the White Witch. But in a different and no less important way, you are bringing a little more light into the world.

You are here because you are all Chosen Ones, and your stories have chosen you.

Good luck go with you on your quest!

~Tori is a Ravenclaw sophomore on her second NaNoWriMo, the most prolific borrower from her school’s library, and a skier who sings acappella on lifts. She blogs for her local library, participates on her school quiz team, and is a veteran of several national spelling bees. Her favorite genres to read and write are mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy.

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