National Novel Writing Month: Writing 50,000 words with 10 other writers -- in a castle

10_nanowrimo storybody_04 Derek Murphy - View from the castle (outside) Derek Murphy in balcony

Story highlights

  • National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) is celebrated worldwide every November
  • This year, a US author rented a castle for the challenge

(CNN)A picturesque castle in southwest France is the setting. The mission: To write 50,000 words in November.

The challenge is part of National Novel Writing Month, known online as Nanowrimo, which this year had social media buzzing because 10 participants brought their novels to life at the imposing Château de Cadrès.

Here's where I'm living for a couple weeks with other writers while I work on a book. #nanocastle

A photo posted by Kristina Horner (@kristinahorner) on

US author Derek Murphy is the man behind the project.
    "Spending Nanowrimo 2016 in a castle with a group of authors was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to be known for," he said.
    "I figured if I get 10 writers to split the cost, it wouldn't be very much. However, I invited several participants to stay for free," Murphy told CNN.
    "The work I produced here gets more value from my new relationships and experiences. I've helped 10 authors bring their books to life by completing Nanowrimo in a castle. Two of our guests reached their word count in less than two weeks," Murphy said.
    The guests represent eight different countries. All have their own skills and writing styles.
    Their adventures in the castle are followed on social media through the hashtag #nanocastle.
    "If interest grows, eventually I hope to buy my own castle to use as a full time creative center and retreat," Murphy told CNN.
    With five floors of wooden walls decorated with portraits and ancient tapestries, Château de Cadrès had the mysterious atmosphere Murphy wanted.
    "The world doesn't need our novels. But the world does need people who know how to commit to a project and work to see it through," he said.
    CNN spoke to three of the castle guest to learn more about their creative ideas and to ask them about that Nanowrimo central theme -- why the world needs their novels.

    Yamile Yemoonyah

    Yamile Yemoonyah -- originally from Colombia -- is the group's meditation expert.
    "I'm writing The Spirit Guide Book. I've been on a mission to learn as much about the unseen dimensions of the universe as possible," she told CNN.