NaNoWriMo prompts from the Carolina Room

Enjoy historical writing prompts from Charlotte Mecklenburg Library's Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room

National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, begins each year on November 1. In addition to this 2019 NaNoWriMo information, eager and curious writers might enjoy the following prompts from the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room to reach their writing goals this month. Happy writing!

One September Morning 

On September 4, 1956, four young black students left home to participate in Charlotte’s first attempt to integrate schools. Dorothy Counts, who was 15 years old, faced a mob of angry students and adults as she made her way to Harding High School. At Central High School, 16-year-old Gus Roberts faced a similar situation. Meanwhile, his little sister, Girvaud, encountered a less stressful situation at Piedmont Junior High. Their parents told them to “carry yourself tall.” One student, Delois Huntley, quietly entered Alexander Graham Junior High School. The failure or success of this social experiment rested on the shoulders of four young children. How would they endure in a sea of angry white faces that surrounded them? 

They Call me Razor Girl 

This prompt is based on the true story of Nellie Green Freeman, a woman who was charged with the murder of her husband in May 1926.  

When police arrived at the Freeman home, they discovered the gruesome scene of the nearly decapitated body of Alton Freeman lying in the arms of his hysterical mother. Nellie confessed to the crime because he planned to leave her. "If other wives would give their husbands the same dose I gave mine, they'd have less trouble," she told stunned police officers. Her trial became a sensation and resulted in a surprise verdict. 

First in Freedom 

For centuries, the residents of Mecklenburg County have celebrated May 20 as the first American Independence Day. The state of North Carolina has the date on its flag. Write from a perspective that 28 men went to the courthouse and prepared a declaration that Captain James Jack delivered to the Continental Congress in 1775, a year before the American Declaration of Independence. Why were the facts covered up? 

Gold All Around Us 

At one time, there were more than 60 gold mines in Mecklenburg County. Write a novel describing the arrival of Cornish miners, the opening of hotels and stores and the people involved. 

Dr. Annie Lowrie Alexander 

Dr. Annie Lowrie Alexander was the first woman physician to practice medicine in North Carolina. Born in Northern Mecklenburg County, her father decided that she would study medicine to treat women patients after one of his female patients refused to let him examine her and subsequently died. The one stipulate was Annie could never marry. After private tutoring, Annie entered the Female Medical College in Philadelphia and graduated in 1888. After a bout of tuberculosis almost cut her career short, she returned to Charlotte and established a practice until her death in 1929. Her medical career and personal life would make a great story. 

Come to the Robinson-Spangler Carolina Room on the third floor of Main Library to conduct research or simply for a quiet space to write! 


These historical prompts were written by Shelia Bumgarner, librarian, of the Carolina Room.