Children's writing

NaNoWriMo Update

Harriet, Ziggy, and I are participating in NaNoWriMo, writing 50,000 word novels in the thirty short days of November. Here’s the first progress report from Harriet:

Harriet: Last year Jen told us in either the Bookmarks 101 Class or on the blog at S4L, I do not remember, that she was off to a writing event. I looked it up on the Internet, and just took a quick peek at the site. “No, I cannot do this. This is not for me!” I thought and just closed the site. It took only a minute or so to judge my abilities as a writer of stories!

This summer I was participating in a class over a week in June with the theme “The force of the history of our life.” Pretty huge title, and I thought it was about writing. It was—sort of. It was about finding ways to express oneself if we had the experience of a lack of words. How can we express something without a language? So it was crafting and silence and different challenges, and very few writing exercises.

One of the participants in this class mentioned NaNoWriMo. I used several days to explore the site and the content. And I signed up in July to be a participant this November. How could I decide that I could not do this, when I never have tried it before? Why judge myself this hard?

I decided I had to tell someone about it, so I mailed Jen!

Jen: With the big push to launch Ari’s Garden, I wasn’t planning to participate this year, but I’m a sucker for NaNo. Harriet’s enthusiasm and about two seconds was all it took to change my mind.

Harriet: Then I had to do it, right?

Jen: Darn tootin’!

Harriet: I promised Jen to try to give you some updates on my experience in this project.

First of all I like to say to the S4L group:

I am telling the story to you as I write. I have to have an audience, so I imagine it is this group of readers.

Jen: I’m honored!

Harriet: But without any of the very intelligent critiques and comments on too much stretched out plot, lazy characters, boring events, or any comments at all, really!

Jen: All that comes during re-writes, anyway.

Harriet: In my mind, you are sitting on pillows with a cup of coffee, cocoa, or tea and listening in awe when I tell my story or write it down! Yes, you love my story and cannot wait until the next day to hear more of it!

Jen: Of course we do!

I am writing in Norwegian, to make it easier for me to win the game. But I have to tell you: In Norwegian we glue words together and make longlonglong words out of several of yours. And the word count says ONE when it is like two or three in your language. We do not use the, a, an as much either, so no free rides for Norwegians! Sweat and envy!

Jen: How interesting! But bummer for you.

Harriet: I made an outline of my story as far as I could make up things to happen to my favorite character and the rest of them. But it is difficult to have a big picture and to take care of all the tiny details. I hope it is ok that I forgot some things and just write some more events, turning points, danger and solutions, and tidy up the mishaps after November is finished.

Jen: The advance plotting and outlining is above the call of NaNo duty, but the rest is precisely as it should be. Well done!


Today in Alaska: Eagle taunting dog. Dog scolding eagle. Man taking picture of dog and eagle. Is there a story here?

Word Accountability

Harriet: 1.11.2011: 4502 words.

Jen: Yowzer! I was overjoyed I hit my daily goal of 2,000!

I had one writing session before walking the dogs and one session after lunch. It is fun to start telling the story. At once I got problems with how I can jump between events to make the story more interesting and like the character having flashbacks and show some anxiety for the unknown parts to come… To build a story strategically and technically is pushing my brain a bit, because I just write in a flow of words. It is like writing as fast as I can think, or a bit slower, but my fingers just dance after the thoughts I make. The story develops as I write. And how am I to remember all the details about different people in the story, or the places and all this?

I decided to write what I wanted and needed and what occurred to me when writing. Then I will take a break to write character sheets or notes and draw maps for the traveling, the farms and the castles and Mansions and what not. I do need a secretary, because I do not have time for all this fun stuff. And this evening I am participating on a meeting outdoors by a fire. Love that! And what I can pick up to write about. 😉

2.11.2011: 6059 words. 39 words / minute.

Jen: Ay chihuahua! 2,000 for me, and I thought I was smokin’.

I am really thrilled that when I write, the characters take charge of my fingers and write in something I did not think of in my tiny outline. And now I have a very nasty person to handle, I really have some problems thinking of how a nasty person behaves. I will not think of this late in the evening, because I may dream of it! And I have stiff upper lip and nose in the air people to handle. And crafts to know all about! What herbs do heal which kind of wounds? How to make food packages with leaves and leather to put under rocks besides the outside a fire? I know nothing about horses, and yet my main character rides one and does all the stuff you need to do for your horse’s well being.

To tell you the truth: I make it up! I have no idea what I am talking about or writing about in detail. And my audience (you!) loves it already.

I do not know if my other blog post will be this detailed, but it is a start, to let you know I work hard and do my best not to let my audience down. And you know I tell you something rare and funny and exciting and pretty and scary in the days ahead. I have to do other chores as well—no, really? Does she have a life? The Shiba Picture Calendar for 2012 is to be made by me among other stuff.

I love this, being a Writing-nut! And I am happy I have such a thrilled audience in my S4L NaNoWriMo Club!

And now I will start on a pink bookmark with some pattern…

Jen: Oooookay. I’ve got me some serious thinking and catching up to do. Harriet has set the bar mighty high. Today, day three, I chalked up alllllllllmooooooost one word on my WriMo novel, but not quite. I do, however, sense a very wordy weekend approaching. Reproaching? Nonono (my nod to Norwegian word-gluing). Definitely approaching, not reproaching. At least, not yet.

1 reply »

  1. Harriet, I’m sure I love your story, but I KNOW I love how you write about the experience! As Jen mentions, plotting and outlining aren’t generally part of the NaNo experience, but if you can do that and have your amazing word count (especially long, complex Norwegian words), you are Superwoman. The jumping around and writing disointed bets and pieces- that is pur NaNo. Keep the reports coming!