Homeschooling Online - National Novel Writing Month Young Writer's Program-NaNoWriMo
Every Novemeber people from all over the world take part in a writing collective called National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)
. The idea started amongst friends in San Francisco in 1999. When word-of-mouth grew the participants, a Young Writer's Program (YWP)was developed to include children on the fun of writing a novel with others.
In November 2011, I looked further into NaNoWriMoYWP than I ever had before since I had a budding author in my midst at just the right age. My oldest daughter had already written and illustrated her first story a few years back. Since then she had continued writing various little pieces, but nothing big or organized. I thought NaNoWriMoYWP would be right up her alley.
I came to her about the idea a whole month prior to the start date. I wanted to make sure she had all the information she needed. I knew her skill at writing made her capable, I just wanted to make sure she was willing. I didn't want to shove it down her throat.
I sat down with her and let her know that she would have to make a big commitment. She would need to write every day on her novel to accomplish little word count goals all along her way to writing a full novel in a month. I let her know that we'd work together to figure out what that ultimate monthly word count total should be. She was happy to hear that along with her feeling of accomplishment for completing each daily goal, she'd also have to opportunity to receive her novel in published book form, just like a real book! She mulled it over for a while, but every time we talked about it, her smile gave her away. I knew this was exactly what she wanted to do. She let me know herself a week before November started.
In our home, my oldest daughter and my oldest son are separated by a year and nine days. They go through life seemingly joined at the hip. When he expressed his desire to join the challenge as his sister was, it shouldn't have surprised me. I made sure he too knew of the rules and wanted to do it as a challenge instead of feeling pressured in any way. He let me know he understood and still wanted in. I was a bit taken aback since he usually is less than thrilled at his writing course work, but I hid my misgivings and gave him the encouraging smiles, hugs and words that I knew he'd need as the month went on. My first two authors were ready to go!
The Young Writer's Program is a bit different from the adult version of NaNoWriMo. Instead of having to write 50,000 words as part of the challenge, children are held to whatever writing standard their teachers deem suitable. I started out with 8,000 words for my daughter and 6,000 words for my son based on what I'd seen them do in our writing activities. After the first few days, I saw them struggling just a bit so I adjusted it to 6,000 and 3,000 for them. They were able to sit and write every day comfortably with these goals so we stuck with it (you're able to change your goals in the beginning, but towards the end they are locked).
Every day they would write in a word processor program and copy and paste what they wrote into the NaNoWriMoYWP tally page to count their words. The words added up and they showed no sign of getting tired. Once they had decided upon a theme, title and characters they were eager to write out the story in their heads.
At the end of the month they went to their NanoWriMoYWP accounts and found a congratulatory video in their honor! They celebrated the end of the challenge by resting! During the month NanOWriMo had taken the place of their writing and language arts studies. When they were done, they still had to learn how to edit. They became well acquainted with the rules of grammar. I'd love to say that the re-writing and publishing portion didn't take long and they were reunited with their published works within the month, but that's not what happened. I had a TERRIBLE time editing their work! I decided to call in a family member who had extensive experience in teaching English to help out. My daughter Skype'd her mentor and shared her screen to hurry along the process. Even after the re-writing was done there were more headaches!
The company Create Space
, along with others, teamed up with NanoWriMoYWP to provide the winners of the challenge finished copies of their novel to take home, give to others or sell! Since our children had done all the work, I decided to take full responsibility of the publishing. I nearly went crazy trying to get the right sizing, color and formatting that was needed to turn the documents into printed books. That was before I realized Create Space has a WONDERFUL customer service department!
All I had to do was provide my number and they call me to answer my question (oh how I WISH I had found this out BEFORE all the headaches and late nights).
Once the books were print ready, I approved the final proof, entered the NanoWriMoYWP winner's code and sent it off to the printers(since I was at my wits end with my daughter's book her formatting turned out a bit screwy. Lesson learned!)!
In a few days we had our book in hand! My daughter devoured it right out the box! It has DEFINITELY been a long and trying experience, but I'm sure we will do it again! We might bring some friends along too. Just add a comment below if you would like to join us! Maybe we can form a writing group for encouragement...
Click Here To Buy My Book!
Click Here To Buy My Book Too!