It's November First, that means it's National Novel Writer's Month!
Along with leading a bunch of 3rd graders through the process this year, I'm also writing my own 50k work novel. Unlike past years, I have no idea what I'm writing this year. All I have is an opening:
My family is the punchline of a joke: an Orthodox Rabbi, Catholic nun and Buddhist Unitarian Universalist minister sit down for a family Thanksgiving dinner together.....
I'm not sure but I think it will involve a (possibly) haunted house, an overgrown park and pixies. I don't know the gender or age of the main character as they haven't told me yet. I have a vague idea where it might be going, but I'm not positive.
My 3rd graders are excited. Yesterday they received a composition book and a NaNoWriMo pencil that has "There's a novel in this pencil" printed on the side of it. I have stickers and pins for the kids as well and I'm going to have a couple more pins I'm going to have made up for them. Many of the kids are shooting for 100 words a day (kids set their own word count). Part of the reason I'm doing this is because I believe that many of the reluctant writers will will lose their fear of the MCAS - a huge source of anxiety already - if they know writing an essay is no big deal.
Heck... after writing a novel, it will be no big deal.
It will be interesting for me because these kids really only made the transition to being writers a month ago when Writer's Workshop started for them at the beginning of October. Last time I lead a group of students through, they were fourth graders who had been writing, many of them reluctantly for a year. It will be interesting to see if this group of 3rd graders go into 4th grade thinking of themselves as writers and how that changes them as they continue on.
I have been developing some tools for the kids as well: writing prompts for when they get stuck and progress charts (which I have to modify as different kids are going for different counts). I'll keep talking about here as well as my own progress.
In the meantime, think about jumping into the deep end with us this year. There's still time and 1667 words a day isn't too bad. It's a great habit to get into.