Nano Senior

February 15, 2019

“Beware of Witch. Keep Out. Check for signs of life @ 3:00 and 5:00. Trespassers will be turned to Newts.”


This sign stands posted outside Elaina Tirrel’s (12) bedroom door at home in an effort to keep out distractions while she works on her fantasy novel. As of Jan., Elaina had 18 pages completed for the planned 300.


“My family is very distracting and loud. Usually my brother will try to show me a video he likes every few minutes, draining our data and my sanity. He inspired the sign, and now is referred to as Newt-boy after ignoring the sign,” said Tirrel.

Tirrel has always liked creating new exciting worlds and people while she is writing.


“Most of the time I imagine myself living alongside what I create, which makes it easy to create realism in a fantasy setting,” said Tirrel. Tirrel finds her drive to write in “spite and caffeine.”


With the creativity that comes with writing a novel, Tirrel has also found challenges along the way.


“[There is] the eternal writer’s dilemma: sleep or write. Usually I put off writing as soon as I find a plot hole, just so I don’t have to torture myself with writer’s block,” added Tirrel.


Tirrel credits her family and teachers as “great about encouraging me to constantly improve.” She often reads fantasy, but also tries different genres to gain different perspectives.


“Everything and everyone can be used as inspiration [for my writing], which is why all fiction needs a disclaimer at the front,” said Tirrel.


After getting advice from Nanowrimo Veterans, writers who take on the challenge of writing a novel in the month of November, Tirrel created a basic outline for her story with three acts planned, including a more detailed scene by scene outline still a work in progress.


“My main character is someone who hasn’t lived the most charmed life. She has been abused by her stepfather, and her mother is oblivious to it. At the start of the book, she is already at her breaking point. She escapes her stepfather, and is taken in by the family of a child she helps. She gets a glimpse of what a real family is, then has to leave so her new family is safe from her stepfather. The book follows her as she deals with PTSD and the dangers of a world of magic,” said Tirrel.


“Ideally, at the end of the semester” hopes to be finished with her novel, but “realistically it may be a year or two before it's actually ready to be published.”


The task of managing writing a novel and succeeding academically can sometimes be a juggling act for Tirrel.


“My life has a way of getting in the way of my book. Last semester my math and English grades suffered because I couldn’t find time for homework and freewrites,” said Tirrel. “I’m terrible at time management, but I found I could plot with a dry erase marker in the shower, and I have ten different apps on my phone for writing on the go.”



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Gasconade County R-1 School District

176 Bearcat Crossing

Hermann, MO 65041


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