Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's NaNoWriMo Time!

We're not doing it---we just love saying it! Na No Wri Mo. How fun is that?

OK, I lied. We really are doing it. What is it, you might ask?  It stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is an online literary event where adults pledge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. If you submit your novel to their site and the word count is 50,000+ at the end of November, you win.

It started in 1999 when Chris Baty invented the project and has escalated from there. I have wanted to do it for several years now, but November always seemed to sneak up on me. This year I was more (scarcely) prepared.

Since I teach composition to twenty-seven students, I told Computer Geek that I was going to have all my students do it too. He tried to bring me back to earth by telling me there is no way a twelve-year old could write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Reluctantly, I agreed, then promptly found their teen site for young writers. It had more realistic goals, outlined by grade, plus had a free printable workbook to help students through the month.

I must say that this is one of the most exciting projects I have ever done as a teacher. Kids that formerly would prefer to get an F before they would actually submit a paper, are on fire about writing a book. I teach literature and composition in a tiny room that doubles as a library and computer lab. There are ten computers, but my classes have between six and seven students. In each class period I have had students ask me if they could use the spare computers to work on their stories. They call me frequently when they get stuck for an idea or if they are not sure what to do next. Each day, they post their current word counts in our virtual classroom.  Later in the month we are going to have a NaNoWriMo writing marathon.



People have asked me, "You're doing it too?"  How could I plead busy-ness and expect my students to write a novel in thirty days? I'm "write" along there with them. Only 37,903 words to go!

For those of you who might be up for the challenge, only seven days have passed. At 1667 words a day, you only need 11,669 to catch up before November 30.

15 comments:

  1. She sat down to the computer with a blank look on her face. Her only reason for being there was a crazy assignment she'd received from her Lit. teacher. Some crazy old lady who doted on the English language. "I'll never be able to write a book," she thought, "It's impossible." Yet her fingers reached for the keyboard and she typed the inevitable first word..

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  2. LuvsKids11: Keep it going! You've got 65 words already! I think it would make a great novel. :)

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  3. There's a whole lot o' writin' goin' on. Any rules on how well-written it is, or just get down those 50,000 words?

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  4. Auntie M: According to the NaNoWriMo site, there is to be absolutely no editing during the month of November. Participants are counseled to turn off their "inner editor." December is the time for re-writes. The idea is that if people correct as they go, at the end of November they will have 1/5 of a well-written novel that will probably never be touched again. If they consider this their rough draft, then at the end of November, they have a full-length novel that just needs to be tweaked. "I wrote a novel--it's just in the editing stage" sounds so much better than "I have 1/5 of a novel done--would you like to read it?"

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  5. Yes, I would love to read it.
    I must add, a first draft will always need more than a tweak.
    Writers should plan on doing several revisions, in whole or part. The revision is when it really gets interesting and fun.

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  6. Auntie M: Especially mine! It's going to need a lot of revising. I'm cringing as I write some of my assignment because my inner editor doesn't like to be told to be quiet. I want to go back and rewrite as I write.I think that's been the most difficult part of this project. I am constantly deleting unnecessary words but the goal is to get to 50,000. Even some of my more conscientious students are having problems with that part of it.
    Thanks for the good input!

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  7. That is so cool. I've never heard of it.
    I just heard about DEAR, and want to implement that at home.

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  8. Jill: What is DEAR? Is there a website?

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  9. "I don't have a plot, I don't even have characters, oh, what am I going to do," she bemoaned as she looked down at the keyboard. "I am not a writer. How on earth am I supposed to do this assignment and finish it in a month? 15,000 words, too. My teacher is daft, she is totally daft"

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  10. Luvskids11: You so need to sign up for this!

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  11. DEAR = Drop Everything And Read
    They do it at school every(?) day.

    http://dropeverythingandread.com/NationalDEARday.html

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  12. Jill--thanks for the link! It sounds like that would be a fun thing to do at school on April 12. The site has lots of good resources and printables.

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  13. Wish you were my teacher, way, way, way back in my school days!! Wish I could give the time to NaNo. Hope you're having fun with the assignment Randi.

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  15. If you always write interesting, I will be your regular reader. skin care

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You won't be paid for it, but at least you'll know that you have contributed intelligence to the universe...

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