Fun Tidbits and Facts

December 2019 Fun Tidbits and Facts

First Sentences

Here are some first sentences of National Novel Writers Month participants:

“The parliamentarian droned on, and Tavin didn’t bother to hide his yawn.” Renee Gaylor

“I just made it home before the sun began to rise.” Sarah Shuttleworth

“Thomas raised his eyebrows when he saw them in the same vehicle and Tori’s sitting where it had obviously spent the night, but refrained from making a comment.” Vea Anna Hooker

“It was here that my condition didn’t matter.” Sarah Hamilton

“Ayala looked around the forest and wondered what was happening.” Frances Armstrong

(In homage to Lucy Maud Montgomery’s one sentence first paragraph in Anne of Green Gables…)

“Janalyn Renee Brooks lived just where the north Kirbyville highway widened from one lane to two, framed in tall pine trees tangled with yellow jasmine, and graced by a pond that had its source from an underground spring that ran beneath the pasture between her house and the old Harrison place; it was famous for sustaining the brambles of dewberry bushes that formed an intricate maze that extended into the woods, with shady hiding places for rabbits, children, and sometimes snakes, depending on the time of year; but by the time the bushes reached Brooks’ Repose, they were an orderly, well-trimmed and maintained source of jams and jellies, for not even a dewberry bush could grow on Mrs. Brooks’ three acres without proper respect and reverence; they probably knew that Mrs. Janalyn was sitting at her window, keenly observing the activities that occurred, from ponds and dewberry bushes and children irregardless, and that if she decided anything was out of order, she would not settle for it until she had sorted out the reasons and rhymes thereof.” Jody Bailey Day

“Reality can be a different experience for everyone.” Rachel Nix



Things Heard at Meeting

“I’m an old man but I still have a lot to learn.

“Nobody has any time in November.”

“I’m not even old and it’s happening to me!”

News from NaNoLand

December 2019 NaNoWriMo Recap

NaNoWriMo 2019 has come to a close. This year Fort Stockton had 10 participants, 5 of which were winners, and collectively wrote 358,899 words.

We had 10 events throughout the month ranging from short write ins to a weekend re-treat. We had a traveling write in where we checked out several local spots and restaurants throughout the day. Another fun event was an entire afternoon of writing where we all brought food potluck style and enjoyed lots of goodies while we wrote.

This years newest event that will have to become a tradition was a writers retreat. 4 writers shared a cabin in Alpine for the final two days of NaNo. We wrote, ate, wrote, ex- plored, wrote, shopped, and wrote some more. The scenery was gorgeous and provide a much needed peaceful and inspirational environment. An added bonus was several in the group getting to pet a deer. Collectively the writers that attended wrote 53,856 words between arrival Friday afternoon and midnight on Saturday night. A definite highlight was cheering for 3 writers as they each crossed their goal.

Now as the month is over your local writer friends will be coming down off of their over caffeinated states and rejoining society, after they get a full nights sleep of course. We have one final event for the year, the Thank Goodness It’s Over party, and then it’s back to our regular lives. Though hopefully with a more solid writing habit having been established and sleeves pushed up to edit those November words!

~Sarah Shuttleworth~

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December 2019 – On Writing…Or Not

On Writing…Or Not by Sarah Shuttleworth


Sometimes you just need a moment to watch the sunset to calm your mind. This past weekend I took a trip with a few other writers up to Alpine to stay in a cabin while we finished the last couple days of NaNoWriMo. If you are unaware NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a challenge that happens every November and the goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel within the 30 days of November. This is my 10th year to participate in the challenge and my 8th year to be a Municipal Liaison for the organization and run events for my local group and virtually for other writers across Texas who don’t have their own groups.

Some years I win and some years I lose. This was a losing year for me but as I sat there in the cabin in the final hours of the day writing I was at peace with it. I don’t consider it a loss because I have a pretty good chunk of a story that I didn’t have before I started.

This year has been an interesting one for me. Lots of ups and lots of downs. I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone more and more. I’ve dealt with loss and grief. I’ve grown in a lot of new areas and feel like I’ve come closer to God in this past year.

The month of November is always busy for me ever since I started participating in NaNoWriMo and this month was no exception. With several other events and things going on, numerous kids activities, and a few winter blues days I just found it harder and harder to get words on the page.

I was looking forward to our retreat weekend though when I might hopefully catch up. While I did write quite a lot it just wasn’t in the cards for me to reach 50,000 this year. The cabin we rented had a nice hill in the back with a picnic table on it. On the last day of the challenge I embraced the cold and made my way to the top to get some writing in.

As I reached the top I was taken by the beauty of the skies around me. I sat and looked around the valley and every direction offered a breathtaking view. One direction held cotton candy clouds of pinks, blues, and purples. Every time I looked away and came back I was met with a different view of colors. As the sun set and the colors faded I felt a deep sense of peace. I sat for a long time just watching the clouds and listening to the birds, crickets, and dogs.

For the first time in awhile I just sat. I wasn’t worried about what events I had to get to or prepare for, I wasn’t worried about reaching my writing goal, and I wasn’t worried about the million other things that have plagued my mind lately. Instead I sat and enjoyed the quiet of the moment. I thanked God for painting me such a beautiful picture. My mind emptied and my soul lightened. I breathed out the stress and breathed in the peace of the moment.

I could have written and increased my word count getting closer to the challenge goal but I would have missed out on that moment. Sometimes you need to stop and take a breath, admire the world around you, and watch the clouds go by. Though when you hear a coyote howling close to you, it might be time to go inside.

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News from NaNoLand

November Newsletter: News from NaNoLand

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National Novel Writer’s Months has begun! Fort Stockton participants met at The Garage, Coffee, and More for a kick-off event on Saturday afternoon, October 19. Sarah Shuttleworth, Municipal Liaison, hosted the event. She provided many plotting tools and ideas.

The rest of the month is chock full of writing events:

  • Friday November 1st Kickoff party 5-6 pm @the Garage
  • Sunday November 3rd online Time Travel Write in 12:01 am–2:01 am (daylight savings time change)
  • November 6th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage
  • November 9th Traveling Write in 9 am- 5 pm various locations around town schedule tba
  • November 13th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage
  • November 16th Write In 1-3 pm @the Chamber of Commerce
  • November 17th Afternoon of Writing Dangerously Potluck 1-8 pm
  • November 20th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage
  • November 26th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage
News from NaNoLand

October Newsletter News from NaNoLand

It’s that time of year again! People all over the world are beginning to plot, plan, and stock up on coffee! NaNoWriMo is approaching. If you don’t know, National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, challenges participants to write a 50,000 word draft of a novel in the 30 days of November. 2018 saw 295,396 participants world wide and an

additional 101,328 student writers joining in on the Young Writers Program. NaNoWriMo believes in the transformational power of creativity. They provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds-on and off the page. NaNoWriMo is also a non-profit. While it is free to participate they do ask for donations to keep the site up and running and more importantly they provide a K-12 curriculum and resources and tools for free to teachers, underfunded schools, homeschool families, and more. Last year they were able to provide 2,500 classrooms with kits.


The NaNoWriMo organization is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. Here in our own community of Fort Stockton we have several participants, some of whom will be joining for their 10th year participating. In 2018 Fort Stockton participants wrote a total of 338,703 words. Several of those projects are in various stages of production from still being written and added to and edited with hopes to pursue publishing. Over the years this group has written over 3,016,000 words, some of which have gone on to be published!

If you have ever thought that someday you’d like to write a novel then join NaNoWriMo and take those first steps to make that dream happen today! During November we have several events throughout the month to keep you encouraged and provide support to help you accomplish that goal. Contact Sarah Shuttleworth at if you would like more information or check out

Saturday October 19th Plot In 2-3 pm @the Garage

Friday November 1st Kickoff party 5-6 pm @the Garage

November 6th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage

November 13th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage

November 20th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage

November 26th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage

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