A team of 24 Butte writers crafted over 1.1 million words and finished in the top 15 writing places in the world in a November contest, with 50 percent of the writers surpassing the 50,000-word benchmark, according to a news release.
The Copper Quills participated in the 2017 National Novel Writing Month challenge, which anticipated over 400,000 people (including over 70,000 K-12 students and educators) to start a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. Writers were guided by the theme "Superpower Noveling."
"Butte is the number-one writing leader in the state of Montana and only missed being No. 12 in the world by 300 words per writer because the team from Chester, England, had a huge push last night," said Debi Hall, the Copper Quills' team municipal liaison.
Butte's team included all age groups ranging from 18 (college student) to 70 (retired).
"In the past, the youngest writer was a 12-year-old elementary student who wrote 7,500 words in the month," Hall said.
The Copper Quills start preparing for the writing challenge in mid-October with weekly meetings to design both protagonists and antagonists, write back-cover blurbs for a paperback novel, and work on outlines.
"We've found that the prep sessions get everyone in the writing place mentally, and when November comes, this team hits the ground running," Hall said.
The free writing challenge is locally organized and hosted by volunteers who build a real-world community where writers can revel in creativity, Hall said. Last year, the Butte team finished in the top 25 writing locations on the globe.
In 2016, the writing challenge welcomed 384,126 participants in 646 different regions on six continents. Of these, more than 34,000 met the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. Numbers for 2017 are not yet compiled.