National Novel Writing Month at Brightworks was a major success! About 75% of our writers completed their word count goals, which varied from 800 words to 20,000 words, and changed often depending on the writer’s pace – mostly to writing more words! The writers found more inspiration and perseverance in themselves and their work than I was anticipating, and it was thrilling to see so much progress and dedication to their stories, even despite writer’s block, Thanksgiving holidays, distracting other commitments, and scary inner editors that needed to be fought off with sharpened pencils.
Last week during morning circle I acknowledged the hard work that the kids had done and announced that as a group we had written almost 145,000 words during the month of November. The writers responded with some wonderful feedback about the process. Clementine said, “I really loved hearing other people’s stories. I got my ideas that way.” Josh said what helped him was finding inspiration from his real life. Quinn said, “For me it helped not to stagger it, but take some time to get into a flow.” Tab, who did not write, said that he appreciated the people who had the guts to do it, and Rhone closed by saying, “I hope for the whole school that everybody try it, because it’s really fun. At first I didn’t think I could do it, but when I started it was fun and easy.”
Among the novels written this November are titles like Oscar’s The Iron Wolf, Norabelle’s Harry the Hamburger, Quinn’s Kindernauts, Josh’s The End of Nothing, Lukas’s Against Me, Audrey’s The Siren Test, Harry’s The Wanderer and Frances’s Adele’s Ice Castle.
But the writing adventure isn’t over for these new authors – we’re headed into the next step in the writing process: editing and revision. NaNoWriMo calls it:
As I expressed to the everyone this week, writing a novel is just like doing an Expression project at school with all its various iterations. The Hawks compared it to building their chairs – though they joked that they would have to start all over, since they had to start from scratch with each chair iteration – in that they have a first draft that could use improvements. Editing and revision are an essential step of any piece of creative work, and one of the parts of writing that I both love and dread each time it comes around. How many plot holes do I have to fill? Where are the lost subplots that I left in the dust that need to be cleaned up? How can I add more detail to this somewhat flat character? How can I rethink the ending so it has more pizazz?
Revision an extremely rewarding process that lets the story shine in a way that it may not in the first draft. Starting after the holiday break, we will be working together on the editing process, treating each other’s work with care and love with the intent of making it the best piece of work it can be. We’re also planning an evening reading night, hard copies of the kids’ novels with illustrated covers and maybe illustrations inside, and an anthology of their work.