Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Calling All Writers

I just discovered something really cool...if you are a writer, that is. NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, is a web-based group challanging writers of all ages to write a novel in a month. Each November 1st, writers all over the world, sit down at their computers and start writing with the intention of finishing on or before November 30th.

There are a few rules that go with that challenge. First, if you are an adult, your novel needs to be at least 50,000 words long. Those under 17 have their own NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program and can choose their own word count challenge as they know that the student's age, ability, and school workload affect how much they can accomplish. Second, you cannot being writing your novel until November 1st. Prior to that time, you can work on prewriting exercises such as figuring out your characters, setting, and plot line. Third, you submit your novel online so that their robots can determine your word count.

So, what's in it for the participants? The primary reward of the challenge is the knowledge that you did it. You sat down to write a novel and completed it. It doesn't matter that it may not be publish-worthy. It only matters that you sat down and did something that few people accomplish. If you meet your word-count goal, you also get a printable certificate and a web badge for your website/blog.

Not only does this sound like a lot of work, but it also sounds like it could be a lot of fun. Will I write a novel next month? I seriously doubt it as I am not a creative writer. However, my daughter who loves to write stories is embracing this challenge with gusto. Her word count goal is 10,000 words. To assist her in meeting her goal, I'm suspending all of her regular language arts work until December. Rather than worrying about spelling, grammar, writing, poetry, vocabulary, and penmanship, she gets to spend that time on her novel. I'm only asking her to complete history, science, and a minimum amount of math.

Whether or not you, or your children, wish to participate in NaNoWriMo there's something there that will benefit anyone who is teaching a child to write creatively. To assist their writers, they have writing workbooks available for elementary, middle school, and high school levels on their young writers website. The workbooks provide both instruction and questions to answer for developing your protagonist, supporting characters, antagonist, setting, and plot line. They are great, and free, resources.

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Lisa Russell said...

That's cool, I'd heard of it but didn't know there was a way for kids to participate. I think it's a cool opportunity, and she is lucky that you recognize how great it is, and can allow her to use it as her language arts class.

Luke Holzmann said...

I've heard about this in years past, but I've never gone for it. Maybe this year...


Deb said...

How super fun! I've forwarded your post to Brynna :)