Thomasville Times Enterprise


December 5, 2013

Thomasville author participates in National Novel Writing Month

THOMASVILLE — Each November, hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world write a 50,000-word novel . One annual from Thomasville has been participating in the annual event for the past seven years.

Miriam vanVeen of Thomasville, also known as Mari Carter to her readers, began participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 2006, but took last year off, with this being her seventh year as a participant.

NaNoWriMo was established in 1999. It is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that believes stories matter. This year, it was anticipated that half a million writers joined in the noveling adventure.

The challenge is for participants to write 50,000 words of a novel in the 30 days of November.

Through the Young Writers Program, NaNoWriMo provides free resources and curriculum to more than 80,000 students and educators in 2,000 classrooms around the world. Additionally, 692 volunteer Municipal Liaisons hosted write-ins and events in 500 regions around the world.

“NaNoWriMo is an unbeatable way to write the first draft of a novel because it’s such a powerful antidote to that horrible foe of creativity: Self doubt,” said Faulkner, executive director. “NaNoWriMo is a rollicking conversation about all aspects of writing and an invitation to dare to do what seems impossible. As many NaNoWriMo writers have discovered, the best way to learn to write a novel is by simply plunging in to write a novel.”

In 2012, 341,375 participants started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors and middle school English teachers, but walked away at the end as novelists. More than 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published. They include Sarah Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.

Each year, the team brings in published authors to give pep talks to the participants. This year’s authors included James Patterson, Marie Lu, Lev Grossman, Rainbow Rowell, Patrick Rothfuss, Catherynne M. Valente, Bella Andre, Malinda Lo, Holly McGhee, Ralph Peters and Jeff VanderMeer.

VanVeen has considered being published under her pseudonym, Mari Carter.

She said, “The book I am working on this year for NaNoWriMo was one I pitched to editors at Harlequin Heartwarming during the Romance Writers of America conference this past July in Atlanta. They were having an Open House for the newly launched line of wholesome romances. They asked all the writers who attended for a story pitch. The top five pitches would receive a request for a full manuscript. Two months later, the editors asked for the full manuscript, My story was chosen.”

Her main interest is romantic fiction. The book she is currently working on is a sweet contemporary romance set in Georgia.

“I like setting my books in my home state. I also like using the men and women of the military as characters in my books. In my NaNoWriMo novel, my hero was wounded during his last tour of duty in Afghanistan.”

Now that November is over, vanVeen does not consider her work done. She will continue to work on the novel inDecember and most likely January. Once the first draft is done, the revisions can begin.

She said, “There is a while yet to go before it is all over. NaNoWriMo is a wonderful jump start for my novel writing process. I have to say, the greatest part of it was meeting some local aspiring authors in the area. We all plan to meet up afterwards to do more “write-ins”.”

Currently, vanVeen is a full-time nurse working at South Georgia Medical Center. She is also the mom of twin 11-year-old girls who attend Thomas County Middle School and an active member of the Romance Writers of America National Organization. She is a native of New Jersey. After graduating with a BA in English from Rowan University , she moved to Thomasville. She’s been living in Thomasville since 1994.

For more information on vanVeen’s work, visit her web site at and for more information on NaNoWriMo visit

Reporter Susanne Reynolds can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1826.

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