Monday, November 26, 2007

Is There A Novelist in the House?......Yes!

Dd16 reached a milestone over the weekend; she completed her novel. As I posted a few weeks ago, she joined in with thousands of others competing in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Participants commit to writing a novel during the month of November; the finished novel must contain at least 50,000 words.

Dd16 finished her novel six days before the deadline, though she had not written steadily throughout the month. She actually got bogged down about a week in, missed a few days, and then decided she was going to finish after all, which meant she had to write more than the suggested daily average of nearly 1700 words to reach the goal of a completed novel by November 30.

She is now editing her work. When she’s done, I will also take a look at it (with my infamous red pen), and then we’ll have a copy printed for her. She hasn’t figured out her cover design yet, but shot the author photo herself several days ago :)

Her dad and I are very proud of her for reaching her goal, but her motivation came from within, not from us, and I think that’s something I should emphasize. People sometimes ask me, “How do you get your child to study such-and-such (i.e., a school subject most kids dislike.)” We did not suggest that she participate in NaNoWriMo. It was her idea, one which she’s had before but never pursued until this year. We did not bug her to do this.

Still, despite her motivation to write, I sometimes have to provide her with tools to keep her going. For example, while she always loved to write, she only wanted to write fiction stories she conceived. So I sometimes require her to write essays and other pieces that she’s not motivated to write, in order to develop her talent. There’s a fine balance between developing her skills and pushing her to learn something; I walk that line all the time. Believe me, when I cross it, she lets me know!

Noticing her talent and her desire, I’ve also used resources that I did not use with my older two kids when teaching them to write. For example, much of the plotting of her new novel came from what she learned in a book we used in her studies last year, How to Write a Story by Lee Roddy. When she first began reading that book, she felt it would not be helpful to her. But I encouraged her to stay with it for a while, and sure enough, as she began to relate to some of Roddy’s comments about writing, she took his advice to heart, and it has helped her a lot.

The three of us (dd, her dad and I) are looking into a writing program from the Christian Writer’s Guild for her to use as she finishes high school over the next 18 months or so. Some of the lessons will be rehash for her, but there’s a lot there she can still learn. Whether she decides to pursue writing as a career instead of a hobby, however, will be up to her.

1 comment:

Janet said...

Congratulations to your daughter! That is a wonderful accomplishment!