November is fast approaching, which means that it’s time to gear up for National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. At Chesterton High School my students will write for at least 60 of the 90 minutes on each of the nine days that our Creative Writing class meets in November. As twenty juniors and seniors work on first drafts of their novels, the only sound in the room will be the clicking of computer keys and the occasional squeak of a chair.
After a 30-minute lesson on some aspect of fiction writing, often adapted from the materials available online for the Young Writers Program at the NaNoWriMo website (nanowrimo.org), my students and I will head to the computer lab to meet our word quota for the day. If all goes well, I will model appropriate novel-writing behavior by revising several chapters of the sequel to Plank Road Summer during every Creative Writing class in November.
Because my students compose using Google document files and include me as a collaborator, I can view their works in progress and add comments (always in friendly green). Obviously, I can also tell whether they are actually working on their novels or just finding ways to distract themselves–a practice that is all too familiar to us published authors. Hmmmmm. It occurs to me that I have spent far too much time browsing the NaNoWriMo website and must really get back to work.