Monday, October 22, 2012

NaNoWriMo Young Writer Prep

Whew!  October is a busy month here.  A really inconvenient time to have a sick week followed by a migraine week.  But we carry on.  We learn.  We play.  We put the voices in our heads on paper and give them space to grow.

I'm talking about National Novel Writing Month and the Young Writers Program, of course.   The fun begins in just a little over a week, but there's still plenty of time to jump in!  Here are a few ways you and your young writer can prepare for the journey this week:

  • Make up characters - draw/paint pictures of them, write about some random event in your character's voice, fill out a character questionnaire (this one is a good place to start, or make up your own)
  • Create a story collage or a collage for individual characters.
  • Create a soundtrack of songs that express the mood of your story, a particular scene, or a character.
  • Make maps.  Lots of maps.  Continent maps.  City/town maps.  A map of your character's bedroom or neighborhood or favorite hangout.  (We actually wait and make some of these maps during November, so we have fun things to draw and provide new inspiration while we're writing.)
  • Watch some of your favorite movies or talk about your favorite books and discuss what makes them great.
  • Think about a basic structure for your story.  What gets the main character moving in the beginning?  How are you going to "throw rocks" at him/her?  What might your climax be?  These can all change as you write, but it always helps to have a very basic idea of where you want your story to go.  (I'll talk more about structure later in the week, when I talk about creating/not creating word-count goals, and having a loose plan for writing a story ina month.)
  • Clear your calendar.  :)

9 yr old writing a horror story script to kill time before November

I love watching the creative energy at work.  I walked into my bedroom one night to find her scribbling away with pages of a draft scattered all around her.  It's serious business, this writing life, and there's an amazing, one-of-a-kind of energy surrounding November.  I'm so grateful we can tap into it together again.

Oh, and if you missed it before, you might want to read my article on Scheduling Project Days at The Homeschool Classroom.  I'm telling you, simply scheduling project times has made a world of difference around here.  And it's unbelievably easy to implement.


  1. we are gearing up for nano here, too! :) love this post - i’m going to share it with my son. xoxo

    1. Yay! I love this part of the process. We're big on collage here. :)

  2. You might like to try tiddlywiki for building a one file wiki of your world and characters. can be useful for story writing.

    Apparently a great way to write is to come up with a good ending, then write the events and actions that lead to that.

    Good luck with NanoWriMo! :-)

    1. Thanks for the suggestions! I'm now completely lost in tiddlywiki-land and all of its potential. I usually use Scrivener for drafting/editing, but this could be a great tool between drafts for more thoroughly fleshing out a world. Thanks again!


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