NaNoWriMo Winner!

It’s been a very long month, and scheduling has been a nightmare.  I gave up hours of sleep some nights, worked while the dog barked at me, and put off a lot of reading.  But I did it!

I love NaNoWriMo because I work much better under deadlines and pressure.  The 30-day challenge to complete a novel is exactly the motivation I need.  Now my plan is to let the novel sit for a while and pull out last year’s NaNoWriMo novel and start revising…

Congratulations to everyone else who participated in this year’s NaNoWriMo, even if you did not win.  🙂

Happy NaNoWriMo Eve!

I will be working on a YA dystopian novel during the month of November.  Wishing all other writers the best of luck!


Yes, I am crazy.  Yes, I am super busy and overextended.  Yes, I also need to read many Cybils books in the new 6-8 weeks. Yes, November does mean a few extra days off from school, thankfully!

Yes, I am signing up for NaNoWriMo again.  Are you?  Do you want to be writing buddies?  I need the competition to keep me going!

NaNoWriMo Status Update and Class Update!

We are officially halfway through November and I am more than halfway to my wordcount goal of 50,000….it’s all downhill from here so it should be easier.  🙂  I am thrilled because I have never reached 25,000 words before so this is huge!  Also, Scrivener is awesome and I totally give that program credit for a lot of my writing this November.  It’s made it so much easier to keep track of my plot, characters, and chapters.  I have also been using Dr. Wicked’s Write or Die almost every day and it has really kept me motivated.

On Thursday I met with a few of my NaNoWriMo students and was absolutely flabberghasted  by their progress.  Because we have less time together this year, I have been very hands-off in terms of NaNoWriMo.  They set their own wordcount goals, are working at home, and determined how much time they would devote to this optional project.  Forty six students signed up on October 30 and about half of them are still writing!  The ten that I met with on Thursday are doing an amazing job.  One already had ten chapters written, one already reached their 3000 word goal, and the rest are diligently working.  At one point, I turned around to find two writers comparing Wordles of their stories so far!  I was just thrilled.  We ended up printing out their Wordles and posting them on the wall next to our NaNoWriMo poster.

I plan to meet with a few more students this week and I can not wait to see what they have accomplished.  I highly encourage middle school teachers to use NaNoWriMo in the classroom because I am just thrilled with the results.  And we are only halfway through the month!


I took the plunge…..last night I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Am I crazy? Maybe. But I’m excited! I have no idea what I will be writing but I plan to give it my best shot. I also have some of my students working on the Young Writer’s NaNoWriMo as part of their independent writing projects.

I’m also excited about a pretty cool contest running in conjunction with NaNoWriMo.  Here comes the press release!


Get in Front of Top YA Editors and Agents with

ONLY the First 250 Words of Your YA Novel!

Have a young adult novel—or a YA novel idea—tucked away for a rainy day? Are you putting off pitching your idea simply because you’re not sure how to pitch an agent? No problem! All you have to do is submit the first 250 words of your novel and you can win both exposure to editors, and a one-on-one chat with one of New York’s TOP literary agents Regina Brooks.


Regina Brooks is the founder of Serendipity Literary Agency and the author of Writing Great Books for Young Adults. Brooks has been instrumental at establishing and building the careers of many YA writers, including three-time National Book Award Honoree and Michael Printz Honoree Marilyn Nelson, as well as Sundee Frazier—a Coretta Scott King Award winner, an Oprah Book Pick and an Al Roker book club selection. As an agent, she is known for her ability to turn raw talent into successful authors.


ADDITIONALLY: The top 20 submissions will all be read by a panel of five judges comprised of top YA editors at Random HouseHarperCollins, Harlequin, Sourcebooks and Penguin. All 20 will receive free autographed copies of Writing Great Books for Young Adults by Regina Brooks. Of the 20, they will pick the top five submissions and provide each author with commentaryand a one year subscription to The Writer magazine. ONE Grand Prize Winner will have the opportunity to get feedback on a full YA manuscript and win a free 10-week writing course courtesy of the Gotham Writer’s Workshop.


Please submit all entries via the contest website at One entry per person; anyone age 13+ can apply. Open to the U.S. & Canada (void where prohibited). Entries for the YA Novel Discovery Contest will be accepted from 12:01am (ET) November 1 until 11:59pm (ET), November 30.



In honor of National Novel Writing Month (—an international event where aspiring novelists are encouraged to write an entire novel in 30 days—this contest is meant to encourage the aspiring YA author to get started on that novel by offering an incentive for completing the first 250 words.


So apply now!



YA literary agent Regina Brooks, along with editors at Sourcebooks, will read all of the entries and determine the top 20 submissions. These submissions will then be read by Dan Ehrenhaft, head Acquisitions Editor at Soucebooks Fire; Alisha Niehaus, Editor at Dial Books for Young Readers (Penguin); David Linker, Executive Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books; Michele Burke, Editor at Knopf Books for Young Readers (Random House); and Evette Porter, Editor at Harlequin. These judges will whittle the top 20 down to four winners and a grand prize winner—all five will be provided commentary on their submissions.


What a great opportunity!  I’m sure my first 250 words will be far from great, but I plan to enter just for the fun of it.  You should, too!