By Becky McMullen 
BELLEVILLE — A group of Loyalist students have spent the past 30 days writing their own 50,000 word novel.
Every November, for National Novel Writing month, the website NaNoWriMo  issues a challenge to writers around the world. Both published and unpublished authors get the push they need to complete the first draft of their novel. This year, nine members of the Loyalist novel writing club took the challenge.
“If you get to the end, they call you a winner. You get such a sense of satisfaction, because you’ve completed something insane,” said Lesley Hayman, a business administration student at Loyalist who is a member of the club.
“A couple days ago I was only at 25,000 words, and I refused to not get to the end of this. So, as of last night, I was at 42,000 words,” Hayman said.
NaNoWriMo is an online community that helps writers find support from other participants or volunteers who make sure that writers in the area have access to quiet work spaces and hold group sessions which could include workshops or brainstorming sessions.
Within the group at Loyalist, student Basil Boultbee has completed the novel-writing goal. But Hayman said NaNoWriMo isn’t the sole focus of the club. She said the point of the group is for students to get together during universal break on Wednesdays, and learn something new about writing.
“When I started writing seven years ago I didn’t have any tools in my toolbox, so I struggled to get what I needed. I wanted to put together 20 minute info sessions of tricks, or tools you can put in the toolbox,” she said.
The club hosts a diverse group of writers. She said that it’s very inclusive, and if someone suggests a topic then she will always try to work it into the sessions
“I have one member writing a screenplay, so we’re going to talk about transitions this week,” Hayman said.
“It’s a really good feeling to give someone the tools to do this, because then they can create anything,” she said.
The novel writing club has a set topic each week, and the group holds a conversation discussing that specific idea. Hayman leads the conversation by teaching the others her own self taught tricks and tools for writing.