Thursday, April 21, 2011

WiNoWriMo: Teaching Noveling, Pt 2

Well, I'm not getting these posts done, so I'm posting my outlines in the hope that they will help inspire someone else:

Noveling 2nd meeting:

Warm up: adjectives

The _______ dog gave a ________ bark.

The _______ dream left a ________ memory.

The _______ book gave me a _______ idea.

Check in: How is it going?

Word count -- graph it and discuss
discuss setting: a great way to add lots of words.

Hand out adjective sheet -- adjectives are a great way to add to your word count and bring detail to your story -- note that every noun could have as many as ten adjectives to describe it
List 20 adjectives that can be used to describe a setting
exercise: write 50 words describing a new setting you can use in your novel

What makes characters interesting? observe the people around you for tidbits to add to your novel.

Exercise (either written or orally): list 20 adjectives that can be used when describing a character

exercise: write 50 words describing a new character you can use in your novel
Who would like to read theirs?

Do you have a part of your story where you introduce a character that you would like to read to us?

What ideas do you take from these readings?

what use is a villain?
Who is the villain in Little House on the Prairie, Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, Anne of Green Gables, The Odyssey?

Has your Main Character been pushed out of their comfort zone yet? What is the problem they are confronting?

tips for figuring out names?

Workbook: Make up your story p. 42

write the climactic scene

11:50 read week 2 pep talk from NPNP

Email to writers:
I hope your writing is going well this week. I hope you've had the chance to put the descriptions you wrote on Thursday in class into your stories. If not, that might be a good thing to do.

One thing I've done during NaNoWriMo that I've found helpful is something called a Word War. That's where you agree with someone to write for a certain amount of time. At the end you compare word counts. You can do this using the telephone or email. If you'd like to do it as a group, we could set up a time tomorrow to have one. You can also arrange your own with just one or more other writers.

Good luck! I'm thinking of you all this week!

3rd meeting

Warm up: Nouns -- use specific ones (5 mins)

Check in: go around the table (20 mins)
What's hard, what's easy, has it been the same the whole time?
Is there anything you'd like input on?

word count (15 mins)
work on milestones page of workbook
create wordcount plan to finish (work individually, using a worksheet I built before class)
Each writer should copy down their customized word plan somewhere in workbook or notebook

Character voice -- read 3 examples on pp. 52-53 of Magnificent Stories

Are your characters growing and developing?
Examples from books you have read:
Will your character do something surprising? (Examples from books you have read)

creative process (15 mins)
Liz Gilbert TED video starting at 6:30
What's your creative process like? What are you finding writing like? Where do your ideas come from? Do you have all your ideas before you sit down to write, or do they come to you as you write?
Did you hear anything from anyone else here that you'll use in the next two weeks?

Halfway video peptalk box castles
Suck dragon video from YWP

discuss different types of scenes: action, description, backstory, etc.

Where is your story? Has it reached the climax yet. It probably will this week, although it might be late this week or even early in the last week. (Exercise to go with this?)

Pep talk (text)

NanoWrimo 4th meeting

Warmup: Using all senses to describe a place or person

1. Update word count. Note who wrote the most in each week so far. Make plans with those who need a plan to finish.

Has real life helped you figure out what to put in your novel this week? Did anything unexpected happen that you ended up writing about?

2. Discuss some other aspect of noveling? Climax? Conflict? Summarize the conflict in your story.

3. Check in. Let everyone talk for a few minutes about their novel. Try to keep the kids from changing the subject to their own novel when it isn't their turn ;) Give them time to talk about process as well as ask for help/ideas about ending their novel if they want to. (I recommend more focus for a conversation like this one. We found that kids had a hard time describing their novels. Maybe ask them to read an excert that will help us figure out what their novel is about. YMMV)

4. 15 minute word war. Award winner prize. (We made a white duck tape sash that said Word War Winner.)

5.Talk about endings. How do novels end? What kind of ending do you like best? What kind do you think your novel will have?

5. Another word war?

6. pep talk for 4th week

NanoWriMo 5th session


Collect and graph word counts
Congratulations and applause, callouts for exceptional work
Maybe make a poster to share wordcounts? (as percentage of goal)

read your novel (We gave the kids some quiet time to read what they had written. Not everybody could read their whole story in the time we had.)

Talk about revising
(we did one week of revising before reading excerpts and having a party the last week)
1st, make a backup copy of your novel. You can use the words "rough draft" in the file name"
Most people recommend taking a break from your novel before revising it.
for revision categories, see the last section of your workbook
complete sentences
spelling -- how to approach spelling this week, and my philosophy of spelling in general
this week -- use your spell check and be aware of homonyms
in general -- very similar, but also notice words as you read so that you can recognize a word that is wrong.

My philosopy of spelling: it matters, it can affect how seriously your writing is taken, but it's not the most important aspect of writing. Do your best, and use the tools that are available to you (including proofreaders)
list of homonyms
phrases that are often misspelled: "Say your piece" Bare your soul,

Talk about NaNoWriMo November. Could we do it as a coop? What would you say to the rest of the coop to convince them.
(Make a poster?)

talk about choosing a passage to share with the coop next week

Write a blurb:
story is defined by: character, setting, genre
complete this sentence in writing: My story is about: (less than 2 minutes each) (make it interesting)
write a cover blurb to suck in readers who might buy your book
write a bio for yourself for your book cover

read excerpts?

Email sent:
The writers all did extremely well, all meeting, and some massively exceeding their word goals. We talked in class about editing spelling, paragraphs, and grammar. It is often recommended to let a piece of writing "rest" for a while before returning to it to make changes, but we don't really have the time to do that. I forgot to recommend that they make a backup of their files, but that is still valid -- they should keep a copy of their novel as it stands now and before they make additional changes to it.

In class we also wrote "blurbs" to describe our stories.

In addition to editing this week, they should also pick an excerpt of a page or less to read to Echo on Thursday. They can briefly introduce their excerpt, preferably with their blurb rather than a detailed description of their story. It would be useful if they worked with you to pick an excerpt to read, but if that doesn't work at your house, we will help them on Thursday morning.

We are looking forward to celebrating the hard work they've done in the last four and a half weeks!

6th meeting
This meeting was devoted to practicing reading an excerpt they chose. We sat with each writer and helped them pick an excerpt if they wanted us to, or just made sure it was a good length. One typed page is plenty, we found, YMMV.
In retrospect, it is very important to have them practice out loud and get any gentle coaching on talking louder and/or slower. Also, it turns out to be very difficult to stand up and launch into an excerpt without explaining it first (even though I encouraged them to do that). So talk about that and figure out how you want to handle it.
We had each writer write a bio that we used to introduce them. Most of them were pretty silly, but fun. It's a good idea to read these in advance to make sure they aren't offensive (like mentioning stinky little brothers who may be in the audience). We also had them write a cover blurb for their books, in part to keep them busy while we worked with writers individually.
We made a congratulatory word count poster, and each writer signed it with their word goal and actual words written.
Once all this was done, we presented our excerpts to our audience and then had party food!