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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Nine novels later

Photo by Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION
Ted Boone, Mays Business School lecturer, participates in the kick-off event for NaNoWriMo.
Photo by Tanner Garza — THE BATTALION Ted Boone, Mays Business School lecturer, participates in the kick-off event for NaNoWriMo.

Since Ted Boone stumbled upon National Novel Writing Month, his Novembers have never been the same.
Boone has written more than 50,000 words each November for the last nine years. Now in his 10th year participating in National Novel Writing Month, known by its community as NaNoWriMo, he serves as a municipal liaison for the Bryan-College Station region. He is also the advisor to the Creative Writers of Aggieland.
During the month of November, a typical morning for Boone, a lecturer and graduate advisor in the Mays Business School, goes as follows — wake up early, eat breakfast and write. When he is not teaching, he writes some more.
Boone said he doesn’t do much else during November, when NaNoWriMo participants are tasked with writing 50,000 words in 30 days. He replaces video games and television with writing. He writes for two to three hours every day, because he often doesn’t take his own advice to turn off his “inner editor.”
“I edit the entire time,” Boone said. “Which is not good practice, but is the process which works for me. And that’s something I encourage my participants, [which] is, I can provide you with advice, but if something works for you then by all means do it. This is supposed to be about your writing process, so if you need to write while eating peanut M&Ms because that’s the only way you can write, then go for it.”
Boone said he has always been an avid reader and enjoyed creative writing. He writes primarily near-future science fiction, drawing inspiration from the material he teaches in classes.
“I’m trying to extrapolate based on what we’re doing right now, where things may be in the near future,” Boone said. “And that my teaching, where I’m doing programming and networking and data base and other technology, lends itself to those kind of ideas. I think, ‘What would this look like in 20 years?’ And then I write a story based on that idea.”
Boone, whose masters degree is in management sciences and information systems, said he feels his stories benefit from a marriage of his interests — science and art.
“A lot of people in my field, we’ll talk about technology, we’ll talk about practical, common-sense solutions to problems,” Boone said. “And they don’t necessarily have an interest in the creative side of things, so I think bridging that gap — trying to be a problem solver, trying to be an engineer in some cases, especially the classroom, and then turning that around and taking it into more of the imaginary magical world of fiction — is an interesting juxtaposition for the types of mindsets.”
Andrew Woodard, history senior, said he has had the opportunity to maintain a relationship with Boone for the last three years through his participation in NaNoWriMo and position as treasurer of Creative Writers of Aggieland.
Woodard said Boone encourages people who are struggling to meet their daily word quotas during NaNoWriMo.
“He has a great way of seeing possibilities, drawbacks, good things to latch onto and loopholes — all that sort of stuff,” Woodard said. “So when I’m going in with an idea that isn’t entirely fleshed out, but it’s already right there in my head, I can talk to Ted.”
Summer Wilson, software engineer for AgriLife Information Technology, has worked with Boone since 2011, when he became her co-municipal liaison.
Wilson said Boone has been able to foster connections between A&M students and the NaNoWriMo community ever since.
“I work for a state agency on campus,” Wilson said. “We’re not the same as being actual A&M faculty members, and I don’t have any connection in my day-to-day work, whereas he can actually get that connection. You know, work with the library do things like that. Because of him there are campus write-ins. We weren’t able to do those before he came aboard.”
In November 2009, Boone wrote “The Emancipation of Bartholomew Benson,” for which he was selected as a quarter finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
“It was finished at around 50,000 words, so more like a novella,” Boone said. “It was complete, so I said the words ‘The End’ at the very end of the month, which is not common for me and it actually turned out quite well.”
Boone said he’s learning to relinquish “nit-picky” editing and anticipate the “ebb and flow” of the writing process.
“Some days, you’re going to be prolific and others day you are not,” Boone said. “And there’s no reason to get particularly worked up about either of those except for in the grander scheme of things you’re generally on pace. And even then, we have participants who are down 10, 15, 20,000 words with 24 hours to go and still finish.”
Boone said writing is both rewarding and liberating.
“It grants me an escape from the normal activities I have to pursue at work and then is not nearly as constrained, “ Boone said. “So it gives me an opportunity to branch out and do some different things — escape the world for a little while.”

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