by Jean Tower


Have you heard about NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month? With NaNoWriMo encouragement and support, thousands of people around the world will be endeavoring to write a complete novel this November. The goal for these writers is to produce a novel of 50,000 words or more in just 30 days. Just 12 days to go, writers – get back to work!

I googled “novels of about 50,000 words” and found a fairly impressive list. This is not bad company to keep:

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

So how might schools adopt and adapt NaNoWriMo? Could we focus on writing throughout November in a slightly different way? I work in a school district that is a Google Apps for Education district, which would make it easy to help students tracks words written. Perhaps the challenge for students might be a collective number of words for the month, including the count from everything they write in November. The target could increase by grade – how many words might a fourth grader write in a single month of note-taking and assignments? An eighth grader? An eleventh grader? Could seniors attempt a novella? I’d love to hear from any schools that use NaNoWriMo with students in some way.


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NaNoWriMo web site


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Novels of 50,000 Words


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