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NaNoWriMo to build writing skills

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Did you know that NaNoWriMo has a Youth Program? They offer a wonderful set of planning workbooks at three skill levels, with lessons on creating characters, plot, setting, dialogue, and more. You don't have to join the program to download the workbooks, and I think they'd be a great addition to any writing curriculum.


My 13-year-old daughter has used NaNo as an important part of her homeschooling for the past three years. Students are allowed to set their own word-count goals, and she pushes herself higher each year. Almost all our other schoolwork gets put on hold for the month of November, while she writes her heart out.


This week, she released her first book on Kindle. It was her 2011 NaNo project, and we finally finished the editing process:

  • Crown Prince Tyler pronounced his judgment:
    “Christopher Fredrico is banished from the kingdom of North Raec. If he is found within our territory, his life will be forfeit.â€
    All Chris wanted was to be a peaceful scholar who could spend a lot of time with his friends. Now, falsely accused of stealing a magical artifact, he is forced to leave the only home he knows. But as he and his friends travel towards the coast, they find a riddle that may save a kingdom — or cost them their lives.

Teresa has also written many stories on her blog over the years, but this is the first time we've followed through and published one of her books. Of course I'm biased, but I think she did a pretty good job, as first-published books go. It's clearly the beginning of a series, so she sets up more plot threads than she resolves --- but I did convince her not to wait for this year's Nano to start Book Two. (I want to find out what happens next!)


Anyway, if you or your children enjoy fantasy fiction and are interested in reading something written by a fellow homeschooler --- and if you have a Kindle or the free Kindle Reading App --- you might want to download the sample chapters of her book and check it out. She would love to get some reviews!

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Wonderful!! Can you share how you time these books? I looked at them, but it seemed one should do the workbook (lots of planning & character building) in October, so they can write in November. I love NaNo, and I think my older 2 boys would as well.


Oh - do you download and print the book, or buy the hard copy version? I'd have to print it in B&W, and I think it was a LOT of pages last year.

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I don't time the workbook or check her answers. I just print it out for her (in black & white) and let her do the planning. She's pretty independent at this stage. We also read writing advice at this blog and subscribe to his newsletter --- but she doesn't work through all his planning stages, either. She does a lot of thinking, and then she starts writing, and as she writes she finds out where it all leads.


She wrote a blog post about her writing style. I think she was considering making a series of posts, but this is the only one I've seen:

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We've done NaNoWriMo YWP the last two years and my kids love it. We do the workbooks in October then write novels in November. Each year the kids increase their word count goals.


Did you know that NaNoWriMo also has a summer camp program? There were/are two this summer, June and August. No setting your own word count though. Ds wrote 50,000 words in June!! I was so proud of him I could BUST!


I wrote 50,000 words too btw :).

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Cool! I know about CampNaNo, but I wasn't sure I liked the format. I *might* try it for August - I really want to write more. How did the cabin thing work out?


I will add a note to my planner to start NaNo for the boys in October. They have written a few stories, and I'm sure their Grandparents would love to read them.

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I, another WTMer and ds all tried to get into the same cabin, but failed. None of us were together. For both ds and I, no one else in the cabin besides us ended up writing more than a few hundred words. In other words, the cabin concept was a complete bust.


Ds and I encouraged each other and spent lots of time writing together and discussing our stories. That is my main motivation for participating. It is a great link to my 15 yo ds!

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