Saturday, November 29, 2008
Mary just won NaNoWriMo! (That's National Novel Writing Month) I offered her a month off from narration, copywork, dictation, and any other writing assignments if she wanted to try it. She enjoyed filling in the novel planning workbook during October. Toward the end of October, we looked at the word count recommendations on the NaNoWriMo website and set a goal of 4000 words for her, with a daily goal of 175 words. That was more words than she'd ever written at one time. On November 1, she was a little intimidated by the blank page in front of her, so Scott helped her with an opening line. After that, there was no looking back, and we were both surprised that her first day's writing produced over 200 words! Some days she knew exactly what she wanted to write, and some days there was a lot of pencil tapping and sighing, but she stuck with it. We talked about her novel between writing sessions, about ways to get unstuck (just skip over or sum up the boring parts), about the relationships between characters. We noticed how other authors handled the passage of time in our read-alouds. Tonight we uploaded the first 4000 words of her novel into the NaNoWriMo word count validator and celebrated her win. She wants to keep working on her novel until she finishes the story, since 4000 words barely introduced the main characters and problem. Scott asked her if she learned anything about writing and her first response was, "I learned that writing can be exciting if it's something I want to write about!" I thought that was a great lesson to have learned.