Monday, November 15, 2010

From Whiners to Writers

Is it bad when your "slothful" students are kicking your literary butt?

Friday night was the first Write-In for our school. We advertised it as "YWP Hosts DFW NaNoWriMos." As far as I know, it is the first time in the history of the Young Writers Program that the two groups have mingled. I count it as a success, though I was a little disappointed by the grown-up attendance. (I think the weather threats kept many away.) Our wonderful DFW Municipal Liason was in attendance, however, and was kind enough to bring goody bags for all of my kids (nearly 20 sacrificed their Friday Night for writing, fun, food, and extra credit). The biggest hit of the goody bags were the little googly-eyed "fuzzies". One of my students bartered and begged and acquired a small army of fuzzies with which she will no doubt take over the world.

We had a couple of word wars, and lots of fun and laughter. Overheard throughout the night, however, were conversations like this:

"How many words do you have so far?"
"Two thousand, but I'm still only in the Rising Action!"

I am so proud of these kids. So many of them, only six weeks ago, tried everything they could do to escape the writing class they had been shoved into and hated to write. Now they groan in defeat when their class count is only 39-thousand words and they missed beating the other class by 1.5 percent! Hearing 7th and 8th graders use words like Rising Action, Protagonist, Conflict, and Subplot in casual conversation just warms my heart.

Not every NaNoNovel is a success story, unfortunately. I do have some that are not only behind, but not gaining much ground. Curiously, it isn't that they don't care, they just don't care enough to put in the extra effort, I guess. One girl lied when charting word counts. She claimed to have 200 words, but only had 190. I called her on it, and she pounded the desk. "I want that little green bar!"

Now if only I can catch up to some of my little super-stars! For those following my work, I'm writing 4 total stories: two Nanite Chasers, a supplemental scene based in the world of On Common Ground, and a new short story called Slave Princess. In the Nanite stories, Derek has once again met up with Taryn, but only briefly before off to "serve and protect." Let's hope he hasn't bitten off more than he (and the nanites) can chew! In the other story, we're getting to see a whole new side of Susan. Those watching and guessing on that story arc are going to LOVE it! The Common Ground bonus story centers on Rayne. I don't want to spill many beans on that, but let's just say he hasn't gotten any less arrogant, but has become a much bigger danger! Slave Princess has only penned the exposition thus far, but little Gemma knows how to make quite the entrance! If I don't miss my bet, she'll grab your heart and squeeze out a tear before you've even hit the real story!

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't mind a colony of fuzzies of my own :)

    Wow; you've done such a commendable job with these kids. I believe quite a few may take your classes again. You have inspired them. You should be proud of yourself.

    The kids have the innate talent, but it takes a caring, creative teacher to bring it to potential. If you've inspired some future writers, you've done well.

    Their stats look excellent. And your own projects sound like they're developing quite well.

    You're on Face Book? I'll have to find you, friend you. And I will mention you to Eric.

    Keep on with what you're doing David. It is obviously working well. Consider your students Future Writers