|Students writing -- on their lunch period!|
But now as I help guide them through the process and show them that writing a novel doesn't have to be as intimidating as it first appears, they are embracing their new identities as writers. Nothing was further proof of that than watching students voluntarily coming and giving of their lunch periods to write their novels. On Thursday I had 16 students come work on their novels. On Friday I had 25. I only have 27 computers. If this keeps up I'm going to have to start turning students away. That is a good dilemma to have.
In addition to motivated students, I also have wonderfully generous authors who have given and will be giving of their time to help my students with the writing process during NaNoWriMo. My friend Marquin Parks, author of the Wrinkles Wallace series (Knights of Night School and Fighters of Foreclosure), sent along some words of wisdom for my students via video message:
Not only did I have an author send a video message, but Gae Polisner, author of The Pull of Gravity and The Summer of Letting Go, Skyped with all three of my classes yesterday and offered her writerly words of wisdom along with a quick writing exercise.
|Skyping with Gae Polisner|
My favorite nuggets of wisdom Gae gave my students yesterday were as follows:
- Don't care about sucking. First drafts aren't supposed to be good. Writers call first drafts vomit drafts because they just need to get it out.
- Sucking at writing is hard to do because you're probably so used to writing for a grade that it's hard to write freely, so it's great that you have this opportunity to write and not worry about if it's organized, outlined, well-worded, or even makes any sense. That's what revision is for.
- She shared her writing process with my students and told them that even though it was contrary to what they probably learn in school and somewhat contrary to the advice Marquin gave my students, she doesn't like to outline. It stifles her creativity and so she showed them a productive way that she gets out all the things she wants to put in her book without outlining.It actually excites me when writers share contrary bits of advice to students because it proves to them that there is no one writing process. Everyone's process is unique to them.
- The thing that drives your story even more than plot is being able to answer these two questions: 1) What does my character want? 2) What's getting in their way?
And with that, dear students, go forth and write!
Celebrate This Week was established by Ruth Ayres