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.
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.