The Land Above the Clouds

Port Wil­liams teen par­tic­i­pates in novel-writ­ing chal­lenge


Novem­ber is Na­tional Novel Writ­ing Month, and one Port Wil­liams teen has set out to write a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days.

Caelin Ansems, a 14-year-old Grade 9 stu­dent at Hor­ton, first learned about the in­ter­na­tional NaNoWriMo (Na­tional Novel Writ­ing Month) chal­lenge through school.

“Our English class was on our first visit to the li­brary in Sep­tem­ber when my teacher, Mr. Dowell, told the li­brar­ian, Mrs. Jacquard, that I am in­ter­ested in writ­ing and she in­vited me to look at the NaNoWriMo web­site,” says Caelin, who sat down that night to en­roll in the chal­lenge.

The rest, as they say, is his­tory. Start­ing Nov. 1, par­tic­i­pants were given the tools to help them achieve their 50,000-word goal. The web­site has a chart, ex­plains Caelin, so you can track what you need to fin­ish by Nov. 30. It tells you how many words you still need to write and the num­ber of words you need to write per day, which is a min­i­mum of 1,667 words.

With the help of a few snow days off school, Caelin achieved her writ­ing goal on Nov. 27.

“I did have sup­port from my par­ents who made sure that I ate healthily while I was sit­ting on the couch all day, spend­ing all my time writ­ing the story,” she says.

The re­sult is a fan­tasy novel en­ti­tled The Land Above the Clouds, which is about two teens who are mag­i­cally trans­ported to a world of float­ing is­lands that ex­ists above earth. The float­ing Is­lands were cre­ated in the Mid­dle Ages by the mag­i­cal com­mu­nity of the world be­cause they re­al­ized that the hu­mans were go­ing to kill off all the mag­i­cal crea­tures be­cause they feared them. The teenagers meet a new friend and the three of them go on su­per-dan­ger­ous ad­ven­tures.

Caelin says her hope is to send the book to a pub­lisher, and then write more in the se­ries.

She adds that the NaNoWriMo chal­lenge mo­ti­vated her to write ev­ery day, as oth­er­wise, she may have just writ­ten ev­ery few weeks. The most chal­leng­ing as­pect, she says, was not be­ing able to edit the man­u­script as she went along, as she would have ended up delet­ing para­graphs, and thus ef­fect­ing her word count.

Caelin’s school li­brar­ian, Jacquard, is fa­mil­iar with the writ­ing chal­lenge as her daugh­ter par­tic­i­pated years ear­lier.

Lind­say Jacquard, also formerly of Port Wil­liams, com­pleted the NaNoWriMo chal­lenge as a teenager in 2009 and 2010, and found the process all con­sum­ing.

“My novel was the first thing I thought about in the morn­ing, and the last thing be­fore go­ing to bed. This was be­cause I was get­ting up early and stay­ing up late just to write,” she says.

Com­plet­ing her nov­els was hugely re­ward­ing, es­pe­cially as a young per­son who had al­ways as­pired to do it. She says she was deeply proud of the ded­i­ca­tion she had shown to what proved to be an en­gag­ing hobby.

Al­though her proud fa­ther printed off her first man­u­script, Lind­say Jacquard says she has not done any­thing with it yet.

“I had tossed around the idea of edit­ing them and get­ting a copy self-pub­lished just for me, but it’s not some­thing I ever fol­lowed through on,” she says. “I was just happy to have fi­nally got­ten my sto­ries writ­ten down.”

She highly rec­om­mends the writ­ing chal­lenge to any­one who has ever thought of writ­ing a novel. She says it’s im­por­tant to set your own goals be­cause that could be the full 50,000 words or even just putting words on a page ev­ery sin­gle day. She rec­om­mends that writ­ers plan­ning to reach the full word count start plan­ning in Oc­to­ber.

“Pull out those story-plan­ning roller­coast­ers you did in ele­men­tary school and find the begin­ning, mid­dle and end. You’ll thank your­self mid­way through Novem­ber,” she says.

As for Caelin, she says she’s just glad to be fin­ished and to have more free time now that she doesn’t have to be in front of the com­puter so much - un­til next year.

“I’ve learned it’s re­ally hard to jug­gle writ­ing a novel, go­ing to school and start­ing some pretty big knit­ting projects all at the same time.”

NKEC Safe Grad pan­cake break­fast and pic­ture with Santa Dec. 15, 7:30-10:30 a.m. at the Can­ning fire hall. Free will of­fer­ing.


Scott’s Bay Re­cre­ation chil­dren’s Christ­mas party Dec. 16, 2 p.m. at the com­mu­nity hall. Crafts, games, piñata, treat bags, McDon­alds, and Santa. Kids eat free. Donna 902-582-7141 or Fred 902-300-7472.


Glooscap Ele­men­tary skat­ing party Dec. 21 with hot choco­late. Vol­un­teers needed to tie skates and can join stu­dents on ice. Hel­mets re­quired. Christ­mas break Dec. 22-Jan. 2.


Scott’s Bay Union Church Christ­mas con­cert Dec. 23, 2 p.m. Cook­ies and hot drinks af­ter­ward. Ev­ery­one wel­come. To take part or bake con­tact Tina 902-582-7626. Re­v­erse storm date of Dec. 20, 7 p.m. if long range fore­cast looks stormy. No Christ­mas Eve ser­vice.


Can­ning Field­wood Her­itage So­ci­ety his­tor­i­cal cal­en­dars avail­able at par­tic­i­pat­ing busi­nesses.


Can­ning’s CAPRE, Light 4 Learn­ing, pro­vid­ing so­lar power to Uganda schools. Christ­mas cards by Doretta $15 box of 10. light4lear­n­ing@hot­


Can­ning Li­brary writ­ing group Mon­days 2-4 p.m. Preschoole­r’s Sto­ry­time Fri­day 10:30 a.m., with adult. Vol­un­teers and teen books wanted. Open: Tues­days 2-5 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., Wed­nes­days 6-8 p.m., Thurs­day 2-5 p.m., Fri­day 5-7:30 p.m. and Satur­day 10 a.m.-1 p.m.


Scott’s Bay Com­mu­nity Hall As­so­ci­a­tion New Year’s Eve party Dec. 31. Mu­sic, party favours cham­pagne toast, se­lec­tion of meats, cheeses, crack­ers, breads, and sweets. Bar open 8 p.m.mid­night. $10 in ad­vance. Jerry 902-582-7489 or jer­rychunt­ley@, Hope 902-582-3603 or dah.corkum@ex­plor­


Can­ning Le­gion New Year’s dance 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Mu­sic by Tony and Len­nie Bark­house. Ev­ery­one wel­come. Tick­ets avail­able at the Le­gion. 19 plus. $35 cou­ple or $20 sin­gle. Light lunch served at mid­night. 902582-7246.


Port Wil­liams res­i­dent Caelin Ansems, 14, has suc­cess­fully com­pleted the NaNoWriMo chal­lenge, hav­ing writ­ten 50,000 words to­wards a novel dur­ing the month of Novem­ber. She says she hopes to have her fan­tasy novel pub­lished one day.

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