San Jose sixth graders are writing their own novels for National Novel Writing Month, reports the San Jose Mercury News. They favor “knights, talking dogs, ninjas and children embarking on quests to save their families — or the world.”
. . . Albert Joo is chronicling the adventures of a necromancer, a kind of wizard, told from the viewpoints of a knight, a vampire and a vampire hunter. That may seem complicated, but 11-year-old Albert said, “It’s honestly a pretty basic story.”
. . . While participation in NaNoWriMo has no prerequisites, J.F. Smith students come prepared. All classes at the Evergreen district school emphasize writing. Sixth-graders start the school year writing a personal narrative and learn about including sensory details and scenery. They progress to fiction, but it has to be based on a real problem — like an annoying younger sibling — so they can write in detail. Later they’ll write a speech.
Last month they started planning their novels, ranging from 6,000 to 35,000 words. That’s 24 to 140 pages — short for a novel, long for them, (teacher Linda) Ulleseit said. She has them depict their outlines as a roller coaster, sort of an inverted U, detailing plot, characters and goals.
It’s easy to get ideas,” 11-year-old Sahith Narala said, “but it’s hard to put it into words.”
Ulleseit plans to submit her class’s work to the self-publishing site CreateSpace to print an anthology. Royalties of 56 cents per book — she anticipates sales to “moms and dads and grandmas” — will go back into the classroom budget.