I’m a few days late on this, but I’ve been playing catch up on NaNoWriMo.
November 15 was the half way mark. I was sitting at just over 20,000 of 50,000 words that day and had to get moving. Thanks to some word sprints and encouraging words from my friends and fellow writers, I pushed through some of the detailed world-building stuff I was working on and knocked out over 10,000 words in about 48 hours. As of this moment I’m sitting at almost 31,000 words. \o/
Additionally, I came up with a working title for the project. My current work in progress has a new name: Apprentice (The Theta Colony). Book two has a name too, but let’s worry about one thing at a time, shall we?
The Minions have been a little less productive, although not completely lacking in words. Friday evening I sat down with Minion 2.0 and in 30 minutes she knocked out her all-time high of 221 words. Her average is about 150 in that same time period. Because of their slow down in productivity I reduced their goal word count by another 1000 words each, making 3000 the goal for 2.0, and 5000 the goal for 1.0. Here are their standings as of Friday:
They’re both very close to the 50% mark, as you can see. I think another 2, maybe 3, writing sessions and they will have earned their YWP t-shirts. I plan to give the prizes to them before Thanksgiving.
I’ve noticed distinct changes in both of them through this process, and I think it has a lot to do with confidence in their abilities. This is most evident in Minion v1.0. She asked me the other night if it was okay for a writer to change their protagonist in the middle of the story (in a gradual way, per her insistence).
My first reaction was “not if you plan to sell it ever”, and upon doing so I had to remind myself that she’s 10. That isn’t her goal, it’s mine, after all. Eventually, sure, I’d like to teach her about the “business” side of writing, but that’s definitely not a lesson for this learning-how-to-express-yourself exercise. I immediately changed course and told her it was her story and she could write it however she wanted.
Minion v1.0 has gained enough confidence in her own ideas to write the story about “her”. The main character she wanted to “gradually” switch over to? Of course it’s herself. I had suspected from the get go that she wanted to make herself the protagonist, but she developed an entirely different character during workbook preparation. I let it go, as that’s what she thought she was supposed to do and this is all about teaching them to think for themselves. It’s exciting to see her figure out on her own that since it’s HER story, she can do it HER way. I had to put aside my own goals for writing to realize that, but when I did, I saw it for what it was. Who hasn’t, at some point, written themselves (by name or thinly veiled as another character) into one of their stories? It’s a step in learning how to create expressive pieces of fiction, to say nothing about personal exploration, so I am trying to get out of the way of that when it comes to my kids. The journey is personal for everyone, and I’m feeling kinda lucky that I get to watch them on theirs. Perhaps they’ll become best-selling novelists some day, perhaps they’ll abandon the notion of creative writing entirely, but I get to see them now, when they’re figuring it all out.
That was really the point of this anyway. They’ve expressed interest in what I do from time to time when I’m flailing away at the keyboard. Now they’ll have a better idea of what mom REALLY does when she’s “working”. Anything else that comes of it is a bonus.
Laura Nicole says
I am really enjoying hearing how you are getting your family involved in the writing process. Do you find that you put them or some version of them into your characters?
Starla Huchton says
My kids? Only in the very general sense that they help me know how to better characterize child characters, like in patterns of speech, level of comprehension in conversations, body language, that sort of thing. I tend to steer clear of creating characters that too closely resemble people I know to avoid hurt feelings, but I’m not above stealing names when I need them. ;)