Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Writing Opportunities for Teens

With a group of ambitious teens in one of my co-op writing classes, I am constantly on the lookout for opportunities for them to stretch their creative wings. If you have a young person who likes to write, here are a few outlets you might consider:

Writing Conferences – Sometimes writing conferences, such as Write2Ignite!, offer workshops for teens as well. This month, the classes at Write2Ignite! will be taught by author Vonda Skelton and graphic novelist Chris Schweizer. They’ll cover everything from creating characters, plotting your story, writing good dialogue, and illustrating your own graphic novel.

Publications – There are several publications both online and in print that are looking for teen authors. Here are a few of them:

  • DevoKids.com – This online devotional site for children features devotionals, recipes, and articles written by both adults and students.
  • Devozine – A devotional print magazine is written for teens – by teens. Students may submit devotions and poetry based on a theme.
  • New Moon Girls – This print magazine for girls features articles, stories, and artwork by girls ages 8 and up. Issues center around a theme.
  • Skipping Stones – An international magazine for students ages 8 – 16, Skipping Stones features essays, stories, letters to the editor, proverbs, and riddles, as well as artwork and photography.
  • Stone Soup – Written by kids, this features poetry, fiction, book reviews, and artwork by students up to age 13.
  • TeenInk – This magazine and website work with teens to publish their writing, art, and photos.

Self-Publishing – This year, some of my students participated in National Novel Writing Month. So, after a few more months of polishing their work, we’re going to self-publish them.

  • Lulu.com – This is the site we’re going to use. It’s simple to do, and we can keep the books as a private project so only family and friends can order them.
  • CreateSpace.com -This is Amazon’s self-publishing company and easy to use as well.

It’s a Novel Idea!

It’s that time of year again!  Time for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, authors and would-be authors from all over the world pursue a common goal: to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. The official website, http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/, provides tips, tools, and support for those who want to participate.

What does that have to do with a homeschooling mom who’s already overcommitted with teaching her kids, driving them to activities, managing schedules, maintaining the home, volunteering, and the myriad of other things she has to do? While I do know of a few homeschooling parents who have actually completed, or “won”, NaNoWriMo (go, Moms!), what’s even more exciting to me is that the NaNoWriMo challenge is available for students – from elementary all the way through high school.

The NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program begins on November 1 and ends on November 30. During that time, students of all ages are challenged to write a novel, with you, as the teacher, establishing the word count goal.

Sound like a great idea, but you don’t know where to begin? Don’t worry – the website provides all the resources you’ll need to get your child started – free! There you’ll find workbooks designed for elementary, middle, and high school students. These books take the young writers step-by-step in developing ideas for their stories, so that when November 1 comes around, they’ll be ready to write.

This year, my high school–level creative writing class will be participating together. They’re a little nervous, but they’re also very excited. As we work through the workbook together this month, they’ll be forming their characters, establishing a setting, and creating a plot. They’ll learn about brainstorming, using description, and writing dialogue. And in December, they’ll be learning about revision.

Do you have a child interested in writing? The NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program may be just the thing to get him started. Who knows, maybe you’ll write your novel, too!

Writing Opportunities for Kids

Write2Ignite revised2

There are some exciting writing opportunities coming up soon!  Here are a couple of them:

Write2Ignite!

I am already gearing up for the next Write2Ignite! Christian Children’s Writing Conference (www.write2ignite.wordpress.com). It will be held in Greenville, South Carolina in February 2010. And the best part is, it’s not only for adults, but for teens as well!

I have the privilege of being on the planning committee again this year, so I get to find out all the details right away. This time, author Jonathan Friesen will be back to teach the teenagers how to get their stories on paper.

Jonathan’s classes cover a range of topics, including characterization, plot, and emotion. Two of my children attended his classes at the last conference, and they both came away from it inspired to write. That, and they really enjoyed staying in a hotel overnight.

NaNoWriMo

If you enjoy writing fiction, then you’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Some of my family members and friends participated last year. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel from start to finish during the month of November. No revising —  just writing, writing, writing.

I don’t think I’ll be trying it this year, as I already have many projects on my plate, but I might just sign up my son John for NaNoWriMo. Students 13 years old and up can participate through the regular site, but they have to stick to the 50,000-word goal. However, there is also a Young Writer’s Program (www.ywp.nanowrimo.org) set up for children 17 and under. Here parents can set the goal for the word count based on the age of the child. After that, the plan is the same — to write and write during the month of November with no revisions at all.

What’s the purpose? To encourage creativity, build confidence, improve writing skills, and teach time management techniques as students work to reach their word-count goal. You know, I just might sign up all my children!