On the write track: Vivi Arnold writes book freshman year, inspires community


Photo credit: Lola Thomas

Freshman Vivi Arnold writes in her book-writing journal in the RBG courtyard. Arnold is writing her own fantasy novel entitled “Through the Years” about a time traveler and an immortal person that keep meeting each other and wonder why.

By Lola Thomas , Senior Reporter

According to Book Riot, men are more likely to get their writing published than women. In a report from Zippia, the average age for a published author is 42 years old. Despite these statistics, freshman Vivi Arnold is the author of a novel at only 14.

Arnold has been attempting to write a book since eighth grade when she embarked on the “write a book within a month” challenge with her friends. Arnold is currently in the editing phase of her novel and hopes to be published in the future. Her love for literature goes even farther back.

“I’ve always wanted to write as long as I’ve been alive,” Arnold said. “I knew that even if it wasn’t going to be my career, I’ve always wanted to be a published author”.

Arnold’s passion was amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. She used her free time to explore new inspirations for her writing, such as writing poems, songs and experimenting with other writing forms.

“Some of my inspiration for the book came from ‘Doctor Who’— I really got into that during the pandemic,” Arnold said. “That’s why there’s kind of a time-travel aspect [in my book].”

Since July, Arnold has been writing a fantasy novel. A couple of months after she began, she was inspired to take part in November’s National Novel Writing Month, hosted by the website “NaNoWriMo’. She wrote 18,000 words that month. Her book’s working title is “Through the Years.”

“It’s about this time traveler and this immortal who keep running into each other throughout human history,” Arnold said. “They’re wondering why they’ve been put in the position of being immortal and being a time traveler — [and to] figure out what life is all about.”

The two main characters, Avihu and Eve, represent the biblical figures Adam and Eve. The character of Eve is a time traveler, and Avihu becomes immortal. Arnold said she wrote the character of Eve in reference to the Book of Genesis, and Avihu is extracted from the book of Leviticus, whose character was in Arnold’s Torah portion.

“Eve makes choices that cascade and affect the world. Eve biting the apple changed the course of [her] story, so they both kind of connect,” Arnold said. “Avihun suffers consequences that they didn’t deserve, and nobody knows why — being immortal is a really terrible fate that she does not like.”

Arnold said that her novel was heavily inspired by Archer’s eighth grade history curriculum. With the help of History Department Chair Bethany Neubauer, Arnold is trying to connect her book to current studies.

Anytime someone in your own community does something that’s really impressive, it’s inspiring and might be that little nudge to to try that yourself

— History Department Chair Bethany Neubauer

Vivi is incredibly curious and always wants to go deeper,” Neubauer said. “I was very surprised that someone in eighth or ninth grade would be writing a novel, but on the other hand, [I’m] not that surprised because it is Vivi.”

Arnold collaborates with Neubauer by asking questions and bringing up historical conversations whenever she can. In addition to collaborating with Neubauer, Arnold said during the process of writing her book, working with her peers was a top priority. One of her biggest collaborators is freshman Stella Leland. Leland and Arnold collaborate through  ‘NaNoWriMo,’ which aids authors throughout the writing process by providing resources and guidance on how to start.

“[Vivi] said, ‘You should do this too’ — I signed up, and we were working to help each other,” Leland said. “It just seemed fun to write more.”

Leland said Arnold’s endeavors are inspiring the community to step out of their comfort zone and take new risks with writing. Her work doesn’t only influence other students, but it also impacts teachers, Neubauer said. 

“It’s definitely inspiring to have students like Vivi at Archer to who ask lots of questions and often make me think about history in a different way,” Neubauer said. “I hope that it will encourage other people to also try their hand at writing something longer.”

Arnold said being at Archer has increased her writing skills and helped her grow creatively during her book writing process.

“Archer has a really good English program, and I think they’ve helped me develop my writing,” Arnold said. “I wanted to have a project where I could just write whatever I wanted to and not have it be super intense — it’s really fun.”