Wednesday, October 22, 2014

NaNoWriMo For Kids: Encouraging Young Writers {with interviews!}

November is just around the corner, which means it’s almost time for National Novel Writing Month (shortened to NaNoWriMo or even NaNo). For adults, that means 50,000 words written on a new novel, all in one month. For kids, its more flexible since they can set their own “reasonable, yet challenging” word count goals.


So why would a kid want to write a novel? Well, for one, HUGE bragging rights! And after tackling a whole novel, any other school assignment pales in comparison. Read on for all the reasons and tips to get your young writer working on his or her novel:

What Kids Learn

  • Writing helps kids express ideas and feelings, clarify beliefs and develop critical thinking skills
  • NaNoWriMo encourages goal setting and time management skills
  • With the use of NaNoWriMo’s workbooks, kids learn story structure and organization*


How To Help

  • It’s meant to be fun- celebrate their effort, no matter how small
  • Help them plan their goals and chart their progress- sticker charts are nice for ANY age
  • Download the workbook so they can preplan before November 1st
  • Let them pick their topic, so they are excited and it appeals to them


What Kids Need To Know

  • There is no judgement on the quality of their writing- they should let ideas flow
  • They need to turn off that inner editor or critic- because NO ONE is judging
  • Revisions are for later- they don’t need to worry about grammar and spelling this month
  • It’s an amazing accomplishment to finish a novel, which is a big confidence booster

*Check out NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program for free pdf workbooks. They break down the pieces of novel writing into bite-sized chunks, in easy-to-understand steps. With workbooks geared toward elementary, middle school and high school students, they lead kids through the whole process.

Kids Who Have "Been There, Done That."


Name: Genevieve
Age: 10
Favorite book: The Hunger Games
What kind of stories do you like to write: Fantasy and Action
What inspired you to write for NaNoWriMo: I like writing.
Did you preplan your story before you started NaNoWriMo? If so how: We used the workbook some, but I didn't go by it entirely.
Did you write alone or with a group? Which was better and why: A lot of times I wrote alone, but I am in a group. I like writing alone because there's not so much distractions.
If you got "writer's block," what would you do to get past it: I don't. I wait for as long as it takes for my mind to get going.
Did you finish your novel during NaNoWriMo: Yes, but I didn't like it very much and I worked on editing it until the publishing deadline in June.
Did you do any revisions or editing after NaNoWriMo: Yes. Lots.
Would you do NaNoWriMo again? Why or why not: Yes. I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year because I kind of like doing it.

Name: Reesa
Age: 9
Favorite book: That's hard. The Harry Potter Series, and everything written by Roald Dahl.
What kind of stories do you like to write: Adventures
What inspired you to write for NaNoWriMo: We're homeschoolers. My sister inspired me last year. She had done it before.
Did you preplan your story before you started NaNoWriMo? If so how: Yes. I used the NaNoWriMo workbook.
Did you write alone or with a group? Which was better and why: With a group. This year it only has four people in it. We have a coach with three kids. It's better to write with a group because it keeps you moving forward.
If you got "writer's block," what would you do to get past it: I Asked my friends  what to do next in my story.
Did you finish your novel during NaNoWriMo: Yes
Did you do any revisions or editing after NaNoWriMo: Yes! It was the most un-fun part. We edited until June, which isn't fun, but I like fonts.
Would you do NaNoWriMo again? Why or why not: Yes Because it's a good way to get out of other school work, and it's fun.

Name: Grace
Age: 13
Favorite book: The Fault In Our Stars
What kind of stories do you like to write: I like to write fantasy and realistic fiction
What inspired you to write for NaNoWriMo: I wrote for NANO because someone in our neighborhood was doing a group and since I like to write I decided to do it.
Did you preplan your story before you started NaNoWriMo? If so how: Yes, I spent October planning my book.
Did you write alone or with a group? Which was better and why: Every week I would meet with the group and we would talk and write. The rest of the week I wrote on my own. I preferred being with the group because I liked hearing about their stories.
If you got "writer's block," what would you do to get past it: I got writer's block a lot and usually just waited it out.
Did you finish your novel during NaNoWriMo: I reached my word goal during November but finished the novel around December
Did you do any revisions or editing after NaNoWriMo: I did a lot of revising!
Would you do NaNoWriMo again? Why or why not: I'm not doing NANO again this year, but I did enjoy it last year.

Name: Sarah
Age: I'm 17 now. I started NaNoing when I was 15. I've completed 2 November NaNos and 2 Camp Nanos
Favorite book: The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
What kind of stories do you like to write: Fantasy and Sci-Fi.
Did you preplan your story before you started NaNoWriMo? If so how: I outline the plot, and write up at least a paragraph on major characters.
Did you write alone or with a group? Which was better and why: I wrote my story by myself, but I'm part of a large FB group of teen writers and I have a good online support system. Several other teen ladies and I email encouragement and check up on each other and our writing progress regularly
If you got "writer's block," what would you do to get past it: If I'm feeling stuck I go back to my outline and just try to figure out what happens in the next 100 words. I repeat that as necessary. But I don't really believe in writers block. :P
Did you finish your novel during NaNoWriMo: I've never started and finished a novel in the same NaNo. I have finished novels in Camp NaNo that I started in November.
Did you do any revisions or editing after NaNoWriMo: Yes, I'm currently revising a book I wrote before NaNo, but I plan on revising every book I've written for NaNo at some future point.
Would you do NaNoWriMo again? Why or why not: YES! I think NaNo is a great way to whip out your first drafts. However, sometimes life really does get too busy. I plan on taking a year off here or there as need-be.


A special thanks to all the NaNoWriMo writers: Keep writing, Sarah, Grace, Reesa and Genevieve!


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