Granted, the goal for the kids is only 50 pages, but I have plot nightmares just thinking about it. (Even if it does make me secretly wish I could go back to middle school.)
Imagine a library full of kids chattering, bouncing ideas, patching plot holes with dragons. Their fingers fly as they click away on their netbooks, focusing on the assigned foreshadow or flashback.
Five hundred kids. Writing.
I had the chance to witness this because (via WNBA Charlotte) I helped Monika Schroeder arrange an author visit as part of the NaNoWriMo event at Marvin Ridge Middle School. (All made possible by a grant from North Carolina School Library Media Association, and Brita Mann, our awesome Media Coordinator. Union County Weekly ran a half page article with more details.)
Over the course of the six week program, other authors are Skyping in too, giving the kids plenty of inspiration. John Claude Bemis was there last week, which was when I visited.
John gave a presentation and ate lunch with some of the kids. (How cool is that?)
He took fan questions about his books, and questions every aspiring writer/author asks, like:
What happens if I'm coming to an end, and I still don't have enough words?
Answer: Be mean to your character. Create more problems.
Did people think you wouldn't be successful as a writer?
Answer (paraphrased): It was more me telling myself I couldn't do it.
Ouch! That hit close to home.
In between sessions, I spoke with John about good reads, and good writing workshops. He was very encouraging. (Former teachers can be like that.)
Anyhoo. The moral of the story:
The whole experience kicked me out of the "Woe, is me." tailspin so fast, I sat down to my writing again the very next day. Also, I have a feeling my list of acknowledgements will be very long, someday. In the meantime: BICHOK, people!
And Happy Thanksgiving!