Steamboat Springs On Nov. 28, after her daughter Delaney, 11, had gone to bed, Mical Hutson wrote the 49,999th word of the novel she had started fewer than 30 days before.
One more word, and she would become one of just four local novelists to reach the milestone during National Novel Writing Month. She waited until the following evening when her daughter could join in.
Delaney Ziegman and her mother held a countdown, and at about 7 p.m. Nov. 29, they each wrote their last words.
“Hers was ‘it,’ and mine was ‘pillow,’” Delaney said matter-of-factly, celebrating the end of the whirlwind writing frenzy at a reception Saturday.
Despite a spirited competition between mother and daughter, which translated into teasing each other on Facebook and Hutson's mischievous enforcement of her daughter’s bedtime, the two took pride in completing the monumental challenge together.
“The fact that (Delaney) likes to write gives me the time to write. We write together. Other people like to ski together; we write together.”
In only 30 days, Delaney, Hutson, Mary Nelson and Sherry Larson completed 50,000 words of their novels-in-progress.
National Novel Writing Month is a nationwide event in which community chapters offer a support system for aspiring writers. Those who finish have the opportunity to receive published paperback copies of their works.
In 2011, the event drew more than 256,000 participants and more than 36,000 winners (who completed all 50,000 words). Steamboat had 12 participants last year, and two finished.
This year, the event generated almost 3.3 billion words nationwide.
Larson said she had attempted to complete NaNoWriMo before, but this was her first success. She took a playful approach through a romantic novel set in Steamboat Springs featuring celebrity glitz and glam with a local front desk agent in the midst of it all.
To keep up with the pace, the novelists had to write 1,667 words per day.
“It became a social thing,” Larson said as she chatted with Hutson and Delaney at the reception. Then she turned to them and said, “I had the unexpected pleasure of meeting you two.”
In her third book, Delaney said she continues to explore young adult fantasy fiction, this time creating a world in which the universe had become a monster and lived underground on planet Earth. Delaney wanted to write herself into the story but ended up putting her own traits into two characters, Ansel and Millenia.
“I’m really proud of this one,” Delaney said. “I feel like I’ve really grown into the writing style.”
Her mother and Larson said the young writer was a source of inspiration.
Delaney is “motivating for all of us,” Larson said.
“She’s fearless when she writes,” Hutson said. “And that’s the important thing that had always stopped me was fear.”
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com