Friday, October 28, 2011

NaNoWriMo -- It's ON, baybee!


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. 


http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/ 
This week, we started really talking about the requirements and what we'd be doing. Some of their eyes got as big as saucers when they realized I was serious about this writing throughout November thing. (What, did they think I was just pulling their leg? Sheesh.) Some of them practically danced with excitement even after I told them about the word count goals (While they could set their own goals, the minimums are: regular English students -- 5,000 words; Honors English -- 10,000 words). Probably 95% of them think 250 words is a huge piece of writing, so anything in the thousand range is incredibly intimidating to them. But we broke it down into daily word counts, and they breathed a little easier. Plus, I've got a 50k writing goal, which shocked them a bit (they didn't realize how many words made up a book until we started talking about it).


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!

1 comment:

  1. I love NaNo - so much fun! I haven't done this with my students (they're a little younger) but it's SUCH a good idea! :)

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