Come Write In: fiction writing

Every November, thousands of writers around the world congregate at Come Write In spaces to pursue their creative dreams and write the first draft of their novel. Our library is one of the founding Come Write In spaces for National Novel Writing Month, offering write ins and fiction writing programs every fall since 2004.


National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. 

On Nov 1, participants begin working toward the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel by 11:59pm on Nov 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.

Sign up at to write the first draft of your next novel in November and join the Topeka region.

Benefits of writing with other people in November

“Nothing can derail a novel faster than facing a blank page and a blinking cursor – especially with a house full of distractions. Attending write-ins at the library is a great way to beat writers block, bounce ideas other writers, or find inspiration for your novel.” – Kristin Robertson, local NaNoWriMo participant

“The information in the workshops, the support of the people there, and the deadlines that come with NaNoWriMo turn people who think about writing and people who wish they were writers into writers. The library has everything you need to become a writer.” – Crystal Gehrt, local NaNoWriMo participant

NaNoWriMo preparation (#nanoprep)

  • Fiction Writing Techniques: Character Creation
    Monday, Oct 9, 2017 | 6:30-8:30pm | Marvin Auditorium 101BC
    Learn and share strategies for creating believable characters in your novel using character sheets to develop their thoughts, personal struggles, reactions, problematic relationships, unique goals and motivations. Know who they are, where they’ve been, what they’ve done and why they continue.

  • How to Write a Novel in 30 days
    Monday, Oct 23, 2017 | 6:30-8:30pm | Marvin Auditorium
    Prepare to write a 50,000 word first draft in November during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Get fun and helpful advice from former participants, plus official stickers from NaNoWriMo headquarters and other inspiring goodies that will power you through the month.

  • Fiction Writing: Come Write In

    Sunday, Nov 5, 2017 | 1-5pm | Menninger Room 206

    Sunday, Nov 12, 2017 | 1-5pm | Menninger Room 206

    Sunday, Nov 19, 2017 | 1-5pm | Menninger Room 206

    NaNoWriMo participants meet to add scenes, chapters and characters to their stories, compete in word wars and further their plots. Bring laptops for a creative and frantic writing session to increase word counts.

Handouts, Incentives and Encouragement

Learn more about National Novel Writing Month resource and access the handouts from our popular programs and events. I have been writing a 50,000 word first draft of a novel every November since 2003. I believe you can (and should) write a novel this November.

Lissa Staley

Lissa Staley helps people use the library. She is a Book Evangelist, Health Information Librarian, Trivia Emcee, Classics Made Modern book group leader, NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison, Community Novel Project leader, HUSH podcaster, and frequent library customer. She reads a new book every few days, but recently enjoyed Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley.