It's almost National Novel Writing Month time again and my students and I are participating once again. We've been talking dialogue, character development, plot, and description this month, doing a bunch of mini-essays (about 250 words) focused on each of those novel aspects.
Next, we wrote up a quickie plot outline. I shared mine with them, so they had an example (I got a couple, "I'd read that, if it was a book", which did my heart good -- yes, I'm a sucker for a compliment, especially from people in my target audience. Fingers crossed, right?). I was just looking for a beginning, middle, and end -- just enough to for me to know that they had a starting point (it's that first step that's the hardest...) and that they had a direction.
After I was done with my mini-lesson and released them to do their own thing, there was immediately a buzz of conversation. I loved it because even the students with the deer-in-the-headlights expressions loosened up and started to get into thinking about writing! So cool. And so many great ideas! I can't wait to see what happens in November and what my students produce.
NaNoWriMo is a fantastic experience. Which is why I don't understand how some authors can blog about how much they hate it or how useless it is or how they'd never ever do it. Okay, I get that you're entitled to your opinion but do you have to put down NaNo and those who participate in it? Sure, there's a ton of junk words produced throughout November. Sure, some people turn around and send that junk off to agents or self-publish it without rewrites or edits or anything. But, for the most part, it's just people out there having a great time, writing. There's a fabulous sense of camaraderie between NaNo participants that encourages and inspires.
If you're interested, you can sign up here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/
If you've got a young writer or are a young writer, check this out (It's what my students and I use. There are fabulous forums, challenges and dares, word wars, and even virtual classrooms! So cool.): http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/
Hey, buddy me if you'd like! I'm MaryBrebner on NaNo and would love to see you there. Happy writing!