Monday, November 19, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 Update

Well, here we are, with nearly twenty days past us and ten more to go in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). And where am I? At barely 20,000 words.

At least I have all of this week off from homeschooling to write. Thank goodness!! :)

But writing isn't the only task on my blotter this week. I have comparison essays to grade for my high school writing course at Heritage Christian School, our home school Private Study Program (PSP), as we call umbrella schools here in California. Twice each month, our co-op Class Days are held at Del Cerro Baptist Church, and while my boys take classes in biology, chess, PE, Boys Adventure, and, yes, poor J is taking my Intermediate Writing course, I teach Intermediate Writing to sophomores, juniors, and seniors in which they write ten essays plus an MLA Research Essay. My writing class is based on the writing classes I taught as an adjunct instructor at Point Loma Nazarene University, and my feedback from former students indicates that my class is almost always more challenging and/or more difficult than the college composition classes they take from community colleges, SDSU, PLNU, and even UCSD. Every student who has taken an AP Writing exam after my class has received a 5, the highest mark possible.

However, I recently made a change to the class: all essays will be submitted via e-mail. Up until this time, there has been a regrettable lag between my receiving, grading, and returning the essay and the student receiving and applying the comments and suggestions I offer. Usually, I return their essays with my copious comments on the same day that they submit a new essay assignment, one that they have written without the benefit of my commentary and suggestions for improvement. But with e-mail grading, I can receive, download, grade, upload, and return the essays before the students submit their next assignment, thereby giving them time to read and apply my suggestions to the next assignment before it is due.

In addition to the comparison essays I need to grade by Monday, November 26, I also have the final MLA Research Essays for my online MLA course at Brave Writer to grade. I'm also grading these essays online: downloading, grading, uploading, and e-mailing the essays back to the respective families whose teens took my six-week course. The good news is that after I grade these essays, which require about two hours each to check formatting and sources, grade, and comment upon, I don't teach again until January. So in December I plan to complete the grammar e-book I've been working on with Julie and perhaps the MLA e-book as well, plus revise some older subscriptions for The Arrow, a monthly language arts subscription for grades 4-6.

Needless to say, I will be busy!!

But I do want to make some good progress in NaNoWriMo, even if I don't complete all 50,000 words. My primary goal is to complete a first draft of my second online novel; I just posted Chapter 49 online last Thursday, and I'm currently drafting Chapter 52. I think I'll end up with 55 chapters or so all together, perhaps with an epilogue. I'm grateful for the book's popularity; while my first novel (completed in 2011 NaNoWriMo) has garnered nearly three-quarters of a million "reads" (hits), my second novel, the one I hope to finish drafting this month, has passed 1.2 million "reads" on the main website on which I post a new chapter each week. I think I've done well among the teen girl readers thus far, and I have some plans for other short stories and novels to come after this one. We shall see.

Plus, in addition to drafting the chapters for my current novel, I have been going back over the drafts and editing them into publishable chapters for my readers who definitely start messaging me, asking for the next chapter if I'm as much as a day past my usual posting deadline. So I haven't merely been writing with the usual NaNo abandon; I've been refining and editing what I've been drafting in order to publish and post the past three chapters of my novel--and revising and editing is far more time-consuming than drafting. MUCH more so.

So I do hope to complete my primary NaNo goal of finishing the first draft of my current work-in-progress (WIP) this month, even if I do not complete NaNoWriMo's 50,000 word requirement for the month.

And thus...back to writing!!

1 comment:

Connie Rossini said...

Wow! I think 20,000 words is impressive, given everything else you are doing. I've got a novel in the works too-I'm glad I didn't know about the NaNoWriMo. My blog is already taking up most of my "free" time. It sounds like you're a great writing teacher too. All 5's! I hope you still have time for Thanksgiving dinner.


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