The problem with compressing everything into the first half of the year means my process blogging should happen while I’m doing NaNoWriMo in November, and clearly, it didn’t. (I did reach the 50k word goal across two separate novels though, so that’s something. And by something, I mean 49,800 words that will be scrapped because they’re atrocious.)
We’ve reached the mid point of the program for this year, and we’re careening towards the end. Where, exactly, did November go?
Everything from the first half of the year last year was squished into 2.5 lessons, on setting, character and conflict. With limited time, it was important to focus only on the things that were absolutely essential, and those are the three things without which you have no story. I also managed to squeeze in a quick lesson on dialogue, but that was all.
I think it’s important not to overwhelm the students with information, too, and make sure they have plenty of in class time to work on their stories. Whether or not they use that time to write or to play video games, I can’t really control. I tried, but this fully digital generation have been masters of the multi-tab trick since birth.
However, this year, we were able to make sure I had access to all of their stories in a Google drive, so, thanks, technology. It makes it much easier to keep tabs on what they’re writing, or not writing, while we have a month between sessions.
The goal for the next class is to have a rough draft of a story done. We’ll talk a little bit about revision, and probably do a partner read through to make sure they have all the parts of the story that we’ve talked about in previous classes.
The following week, they’ll share their final copies, maps, and character sketches with family and friends, and we’ll wrap up the abbreviated program for the year. Overall, I think it works better in a small chunk, rather than stretched over the whole year.
The part of the plan that there still hasn’t been enough time for is the reading component. I’d still love to expose them to a variety of science fiction and fantasy; give them short stories that are really good examples of whatever we’re talking about on a given day, and maybe make serious readers out of some of them. There are simply not enough hours in a day.
I have toyed with the both the idea of assembling an anthology of middle grade flash fiction myself–I know enough writers at this point, I think I could make it happen– and doing an exclusively online book club component. The latter I think would work better with a slightly older group. Maybe I’ll branch out the target demographic in the future.
Let’s finish out this year, first, before I misplace it like I did with November.