Solana Beach eighth-grader publishes book: ‘I really, really like writing’

November is National Novel Writing Month, and last year, one Solana Beach student was up for the challenge. In just one month, 12-year-old Georgia Sims wrote her very first novel, “The Protagonist Chapter,” which is now available online at Amazon.com.

“The final product is amazing,” said Georgia, an eighth grader at The Nativity School in Rancho Santa Fe.

Published last month, “The Protagonist Chapter” follows Iris Eliz McKinney-Graves, a young girl whose mother went insane and was taken away, father left and sister has Down syndrome. The eighth-grader also battles boy drama and bullies at school.

Inspired by her cousin, who works as a caretaker, Georgia came up with the concept. She wrote the story through a program that’s part of National Novel Writing Month.

The “NaNoWriMo” program encourages young authors to write 50,000 words in November. The program began in 1999, and in 2005, National Novel Writing Month became a nonprofit.

Last year, 325,142 people participated in the program, including more than 80,000 educators and students through the nonprofit’s Young Writers Program. Of those participants, 58,917 authors completed the first draft of their novels, with support from fellow writers and the ability to track their progress and develop a schedule through the program.

“It helps you get the tools you need to write a novel in a month,” Georgia said.

Georgia learned about the program after reading an article in the Solana Beach Sun that highlighted a Torrey Pines High School student who also published a book through the program.

“I thought it looked cool,” Georgia said. “I really, really like writing.”

Georgia wrote the 178-page book last November when she was in seventh grade. She spent much of last year editing the book. Now 13, she finally published “The Protagonist Chapter” through CreateSpace in October.

Although editing and revising her story was challenging at times, Georgia said every part of the process was worthwhile. After all, she wants to be an author when she grows up and she’s already published her first book. In fact, Georgia is already writing a second book.

Just as she was encouraged to write a book after reading about another young writer, Georgia hopes her story inspires other would-be authors.

“I hope that younger people like me will one day write a book, too,” said Georgia, who also enjoys art and plays basketball and volleyball at her school.

“Writing a book is a big accomplishment. I’ve learned that you can’t do it all at once. It takes time. It’s a journey.”

“The Protagonist Chapter” is available online at Amazon.com. For more about National Novel Writing Month’s program, visit NaNoWriMo.org.

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