Friday, October 23, 2015

NaNoWriMo in the Classroom

Hi all!

It’s Stephanie from The Marvelous Middle and I am here to share something MARVELOUS going on in my classroom. NaNoWriMo is about ready to happen and for the first time, I’m asking my young authoring students to come along for the ride. November is National Novel Writing Month, which pushes people to write a novel (50,000 minimum word count) during that month. They also have a Young Writers Program that allows students to set their own word count goals and complete their own novels. So this year, the stars have aligned and I have been able to put in the extra time to get this program going with my students.A whole novel you ask? Yes and they looked at me as I’m sure you are looking at the screen right now! After the shock wore off a bit, I explained that they were in total control of their writing destiny and we would be our own community of writers. So with November on the horizon, we began preparing today. We discussed what makes a “good” book and what makes a “bad” book. We talked about how it’s important as authors to understand that our novel must have some characteristics that appeal to readers. I asked the students to share with me their own opinions of qualities of “good” and “bad” books. Below are a few of their responses:

“A good book in my opinion is one that is fast moving. The book has to flow swiftly and smoothly. It needs action, lots of action. I want to see the story in my head. I love mythology books with Cyclopes, centaurs, gods, demi-gods, dragons, etc. I need the book to have interesting battles and a very strong climax. I need the book to hook me almost from the beginning, not half way through the story.”
Poetry seems unimportant and unorganized in my mind, so it does not interest me.  Most people find poetry interesting and exciting, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”
“A book that has no conflict is a book I am NOT reading.”
“To me a bad book, is a book that tries to please everybody by taking the newest thing and making a book about it.”
“A good book should make me shove my face in it and never stop reading it!”
“Science fiction books appeal to me because the things that happen aren’t in everyday life, you just can’t walk out your front door and sun flares hit the Earth.”
“I think it’s a great way of writing always leaving your reader on the edge of their seat, making them want to keep reading and reading on. When I say that they should leave you in suspense that doesn’t mean that they should stop the chapter in the middle of a sentence, it means that say a girl gets kidnaped and the cops are about to go to the scene and they make a wrong turn per say that’s where the chapter would end in my opinion. You want to know what’s going to happen now that they are not on the right track.”
Next week, we will start to look at what makes a character interesting and seeing that strong characters move the story along. Then beginning on plot structure by the end of the week. We will be ready to start writing our literary masterpieces November 2.I am most looking forward to my students realizing that authors don’t typically just throw a novel together and need to go through a process. My students struggle with revision, regardless of how many times we have talked about its importance. I’m hoping that writing a novel and seeing that revision is critical will begin to open their eyes to more than just getting words down on paper. And it still remains a good lesson for me, too. I will be taking my own NaNoWriMo challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in November.  If you would like to join me, information can be found at www.nanowrimo.org.Follow our young authors through the process on my blog, The Marvelous MiddleIf you would like more information about NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program, go to http://ywp.nanowrimo.org.














1 comment:

  1. I love NaNoWriMo! I'm so glad you're using it in your classroom!

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