NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. It's this insane idea that you can write a novel in a month. I discovered NaNoWriMo in grad school (another Raymond Johnson contribution) and as a writer, or non-writer, or wanna-be-writer, it has always served me well. But the past two years I incorporated NaNoWriMo into my eighth grade English narrative unit and it was been my favorite lesson/series of lessons ever. The young writers program has great curriculum to help students or anyone who wants to try to write a novel. The first time I saw the young writer's handbook, I wished I'd gotten something like it during my mfa program. Last year I managed to draft a YA novel, and this year it's historical fiction, but what amazes me most are the stories, the sentences, the scenes from my students. Here are a couple samples.
from Shattered Glass by Denise:
At school it was like he wasn’t even there. Teachers always skipped his name as if they were seeing right through him.
Sam hated his life he hated the way they treated him like a ghost, as if he was the one who died in the car crash.
Sometimes he would wonder if he had died and his ghost was still lingering in the real world and he just didn’t realize it.
from Sports Addict by Hunter:
Yelling. That's the noise that I wake up to every morning. My parents fight non-stop like two wild dogs. Every time I make a mistake, in school or just “mis-using” my knife at the table all I can hear is my dad and mom yelling. “Clyde Little this and Clyde Little that.” It’s all thanks to my stupid choice and addiction.
These are only a few lines from two of 60 novels my English students worked on last year and there are 65 more in progress right now. Best of luck to anyone doing NaNoWriMo this year; I really should get to work on mine.