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The City Journals

County libraries offer resources to potential novelists

Nov 29, 2016 02:57PM ● By Kelly Cannon

By Kelly Cannon | [email protected]

Salt Lake County residents with a desire to write a novel were offered a multitude of resources during National Novel Writing Month. Every November for the past three years, the Salt Lake County Library System has encouraged writers to participate in the national challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, the length of an average novel. 

“It encourages folks to get out there and share the stories that are in their brains,” said Liesl Seboard, the senior librarian for adult outreach programing.

According to Seboard, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is a national organization that’s been encouraging potential novelists since 1999.

“Not only does the website platform provide support through digital means and digital discussion groups, but it also coordinates regional leaders who help support and encourage local writers in their area,” Seboard said. “We’ve partnered with those regional leaders and the organization for the past three years.”

In addition to providing space for people to write their novels during the month of November, the library system also offered several how-to books on how to write novels, the book market, how to get an agent and various book publishers. Additionally, writing classes were offered that will continue on after NaNoWriMo is over. 

Throughout the month, different libraries held weekly write-in sessions with supportive groups. These libraries included the Whitmore, Millcreek, Kearns, Smith, South Jordan, West Valley, Sandy and Hunter libraries. 

“All of our write-in events across the system have had lots of participants to share the success of writing their novels and do word sprints and bounce ideas off each other,” Seboard said. “Already, it’s been doing really well.”

On Nov. 17, Brandon Mull, a Utah writer famous for his Fablehaven series, was at the Viridian Event Center in West Jordan to not only talk about his lasted book, “Fablehaven Book of Imagination,” but also talk about his experience breaking into the book industry. 

“That actually is a great way for young people to begin thinking about adventures and getting into writing their own stories and working on their imaginations,” Seboard said.

On Nov. 22, four other Utah authors met at the Holladay Library to talk about their books and answer questions about writing and publishing. The authors included Tess Hilmo, Bobbie Pyron, Ilima Todd and Carol Lynch Williams. 

“We offered those workshops for our writing community out there,” Seboard said. “We have some of the most amazing and productive writing communities in the nation. We have more coming out of this state than any other.”

For more information about NaNoWriMo, visit For more information about the Salt Lake County Library System, visit