‘In-Between’ published after writing program
Winchester — Megan Bishop never intended to publish a book before she entered high school, but now that she has, she’s proud of her accomplishment.
Two months before she entered Handley High School as a freshman this week, Megan, 14, of Winchester realized a major milestone in her life with the publication of “In-Between.”
“There are a lot of people who are really surprised I am an author when I am so young,” said Megan, the daughter of John and Amy Bishop.
“In-Between” is a science fiction novel about a popular but shallow teenage girl, Arianna Williams, completely wrapped up in her own life. Then a mysterious figure begins to visit her in her dreams, filling her head with thoughts of destruction, survival and destiny.
Worst of all, his predictions begin to come true, and Arianna must decide whether to embrace the idea that she will help to restart the world after the apocalypse.
It’s the first book in a series, and Megan hopes to start a sequel within the next year, after she has adjusted to high school.
Writing the novel was a whirlwind project Megan completed as part of a National Novel Writing Month program for youths held each November at the Mary Jane and James L. Bowman Library near Stephens City.
She was one of 35 participants in 2012, in the fifth year of the NaNoWriMo program, said Donna Hughes, youth services division director for the Handley Regional Library.
The middle school- to high school-aged students participating were challenged to spend Nov. 1 to 30 trying to meet a word-count goal and write the first draft of a novel. They also could meet for weekly “write-ins” throughout the month to offer support and comments about each other’s work.
Of the 35 students in last year’s program, seven achieved their word-count goal, Hughes said.
“They are amazing. I have gone right alongside them. I am trying to write myself, and I can’t get it done,” she said.
For each of the students who achieved the goal, the library offered to pay for five copies of his or her book, to be published on CreateSpace Independent Publishing.
In June 2012, Emma Beitzel of Winchester and Jackie O’Hara of Berryville published “Sirix Chains (Volume 1),” which they wrote during the 2011 NaNoWriMo program, Hughes said.
She was unsure about the number of young writers who accepted the library’s offer to publish their book.
Megan knew she would participate in the program for several months before it started, and had to narrow her book ideas to one. “I didn’t really know how it was going to end. I had a general idea, but I wasn’t sure where I was going to stop it.”
She set a goal of 32,000 words, but ended up writing 37,000, working in her free time and during her Thanksgiving break.
“At some points, it was really stressful,” Megan said. “It was really hard to get the whole storyline done in a month. At the same time, it felt really good to create these ideas I had into a whole story.”
She put a lot of herself into the book, Megan said. Sometimes she found herself having Arianna react to a situation in the way she would.
After finishing, she asked friends and family members to edit the novel before she published it in July.
Amy said her daughter “pretty much had her laptop attached to her the whole month.”
Before joining the NaNoWriMo project, Megan had a number of ideas and stories started, but she had trouble finishing her writing projects, said Amy, a special education teacher at James Wood High School. “She would always have different notebooks lying around with different stories.”
Yet she wasn’t too surprised that her daughter finished and achieved the word-count goal, knowing the teen can follow through on a goal when she really sets her mind to it.
John said he was impressed with his daughter for setting a “pretty aggressive goal for herself” and following through with it.
Considering how young Megan is, he also was taken aback by the quality of writing and level of character development she displayed, said her father, Frederick County’s transportation planner.
Megan can be quiet and studious, he said, but she also has a rambunctious side that she “lets out from time to time. I think that came out in her book.”
While Megan loved writing the book and hopes to continue the series, she doesn’t plan to become an author as a career. At the moment, she is leaning toward work as a veterinarian or an engineer.
Megan Bishop’s “In-Between” is for sale on the Amazon.com website as a paperback book for $8.53 plus shipping, or as a Kindle e-book for $5.
For additional information about the National Novel Writing Month program at the Bowman Library, contact Donna Hughes at 540-869-9000, ext. 215.
— Contact Laura McFarland at firstname.lastname@example.org