Friday, November 21, 2014

Final Push

Do you have a book you want to read over break? If you don't let us help you find one. You should be reading over break, too!!

Today is your LAST DAY 
to work on your NaNoWriMo novel IN CLASS.

Get your computers. Get working.

Here are some important things you will need this week:
  • NaNoWriMo will NOT let you change your word count goal after the 24th of November. If you think you need to change it, try to do that today so you can focus on writing more than anything else. All you have to do 
    • If you expect to do well on NaNoWriMo, and your word count goal is currently above 10,000, you probably shouldn't lower it below 10,000.
    • Go to your "NaNo Stats" to see where you will be if you keep working at the pace you're working. It will help you decide if you need to change your word count. 
  • "Winning" NaNoWriMo will get you 5 free copies of your book.
    • To win, you must copy and paste your ENTIRE NOVEL into NaNoWriMo. It will not allow you to win if you don't copy and paste it in as proof. 
    • You must do this before midnight on November 30. 
    • Win. You don't have a choice. Meet your word count goals. That's why we change them if we need to. You've done some amazing work. Don't give up now.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Getting Extra Practice

What are we doing? READING!
When are we doing it? NOW!

Yesterday I asked you which novel element you would like to have extra review/practice with before we left for break. 

After looking at those, Mrs. Roberts and I have made a document for you! Yay! You'll be working in groups to look at the element that you chose yesterday. 

Feel free to make a copy of it for yourself. You can refer back to it if you need to over break. (It might help to skim the other pieces that your group wasn't working on today!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Novel Climaxes

We have a lot to do today. You need some tabs open:
  • This blog
  • Goodreads (Log in by clicking the Google symbol.). Open the pages where your book reviews are. If you haven't put your book reviews on Goodreads, do so.
The first thing you are going to do today is submit your book reviews. To do this, click on the "Independent Reading/Book Reviews" tab at the top of this page. Remember: you need the links to the pages for your book reviews, not the page for the book itself.

Over our break next week many of you will be writing the climax of your novel. This is the most exciting part of your book, the moment when your character gets (or loses) what he or she wants most. It is a moment of triumph or despair.
Here are some famous film climaxes for your enjoyment and inspiration. 

I may ask you to complete this exit slip form. It's two questions.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

"Just keep writing. Just keep writing. Just keep writing," sings Dory.

Homework Reminder:
You have TWO book reviews due TOMORROW, Wednesday, November 19.
Write them in your English Journal. Paste them into Goodreads.

We've been using class time for a lot of different activities lately. Today is your chance to WRITE.

Check out the Dare Machine on NaNoWriMo if you need a challenge.
If everyone in both of our classes writes AT LEAST 500 words in class today, 
we will have written 30,000 words!
I think we could do that.

Source. Don'stuff

Monday, November 17, 2014

Mo' Subplots, Mo' Problems

We will read at the bell

Today we wrote, but first we spoke with our small groups using this protocol in order to generate ideas for subplots in our novels.

Shared Brainstorm:

  1. Remind your group who your main character is, and what the main conflict of your story is. (1 minute)
  2. Ask your group the following question: What other problems do you think my character could face in my story? (2 minutes)
  3. Your group may ask clarifying questions or make statements such as:
    Would it make sense if your character….?
    What kinds of problems do you think _____ would face if...?
    I think it might be interesting if your character….?
  4. While you’re listening, make notes of your group’s suggestions. 
  5. Repeat for next group member.
  6. When instructed - fill out this exit slip

For a quick review of subplots, check out this post from last week. It might help you.

You have TWO book reviews due on Wednesday, November 19.
Write them. Put them in Goodreads. This is homework.

Friday, November 14, 2014

We're Almost Halfway!

Read until your computers are done loading, then get writing.

We will spend most of today writing. 

If you would like to work on writing your book reviews today instead, I suggest you write them in your English Journal before you post them on Goodreads. Scroll down to Wednesday's post for the book review chart and links to other posts about book reviews.

Remember: TWO book reviews of books you have read in the past six weeks are due on Wednesday, November 19st. 

Tomorrow is your 50% day (Yes, on a Saturday). Focus on your short term goal of reaching that checkpoint. Someone who wants to push themselves to be successful in this project should have AT LEAST 5000 words at the end of tomorrow.

Also, a form. Please fill this out honestly.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Direct and Indirect Characterization

Way back in September and October when we were reading group novels, we talked about characterization.
Do you remember this?

Let's add a few vocabulary words to our understanding of authors write about their characters.

Direct Characterization
When an author directly tells the reader about a character. The author might state what the character wants, loves, fears, or dislikes. The author can also tell us what is important to the character, or what motivates them. An example:
Karen, my best friend, was one of the most enthusiastic people at PLHS. No matter what was going on she always had a positive way of looking at things. She spent her lunch talking to as many groups as she could, cracking jokes and telling stories. She was always interacting with lots of different people, no matter who they were or where they came from. She made it a point to talk to at least one new person every week. She wasn’t superficial or shallow; she really cared about all the people she knew and even people she didn’t know. She started a club on campus to raise money for wells in Uganda and she attended every dance and most of the weekend parties. Everyone liked her back too. Sometimes her social butterfly life got on my nerves. I wanted more time with her, but I knew I couldn’t hold her back. Connecting with people just made her happy.

Indirect Characterization
This is when a character is portrayed using other devices. This can include: dialogue, appearance, actions, relationships, and the situation that your character is in. If you have a character is nervous about a test, indirect character means that they are bouncing one of their legs, sweating, and chewing on the end of their pencil. Here is the same character from above, described indirectly:

       Karen came bounding up to me at lunch, a grin spread across her face as usual. 
       "Hey Janine! How's it going? Did you hear about what happened to Jake when he tried to leave campus today? He told me he got arrested! Apparently it's his friend's birthday and he was trying to get him a present, but he got caught. I'm just sorry I wasn't there. He promised me he'd give me more details, so I gotta run. He said I finally get to meet his sister, too! I've been so busy! Alright. Love you. See you soon. Good luck on your math test!" She hugged me and ran off before I could even say hello. If it were anyone else, I'd be annoyed, but she was my best friend. I watched her skip away, waving to people she passed and seeing everyone respond in kind, glad she took the time to come and say hello.

Authors use BOTH types of characterization.

Make sure you do, too!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


(So make sure you have your book out!)

Today we'll be continuing to work on NaNoWriMo, among a couple other small activities.


  • By the end of today, you should have about 40% of your novel written. (You should still be writing rising action! If you're struggling, give a character a new subplot)
  • Your two book reviews are due on November 19.
    • If you do not remember what goes into your book reviews, check out THIS post from last month about Goodreads, and THIS post from last month about writing book reviews.
    • I have put the chart here for you as well. Each box represents what you could put in a paragraph. You should have 3-4 paragraphs!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Back in my Day...

You should definitely have a book out on your table.

Today we get to talk about time shifts!

When a character thinks about and describes a time in the past, or imagines the future, that is a time shift. It is also a time shift if there is a significant jump in time in your novel.

Types of time shifts:


Flash forward:

Time jump/time manipulation:

Seventy Years Later....

Creative Commons pictures accessed/modified via Pixabay

There are other ways to play with time in your novel. Those are common examples.

Phrases that might signal a time shift in your novel:

  • I remember when...
  • Once...
  • Long ago...
  • It reminds me of...
  • He thought back...
  • I was only __ years old when...
  • I imagined what would happen next week when...
  • Here's what would happen: 

Today, I DARE YOU to include a time shift in your novel. Have a character remember a fond (or terrible) memory that relates to the current plot, or have that character imagine a day 5 years in the future. The catch is that you have to be descriptive. The reader needs to feel like they are in the memory as much as the character is (so use sensory details and strong verbs to show action.)

Before you leave:
I need you to fill out this form. 
The password is "character."

Friday, November 7, 2014


In novels, there is always more happening to your characters beyond the main plot.

When the characters are encountering a problem that is not directly related to the main plot, it is called a subplot.

Often it involves the protagonist interacting with supporting characters. It also involves conflicts or problems that these characters are facing, just like in the main plot.

Some examples:

  • When Harry Potter, among all of his other problems with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in the main plot, also participates in Hagrid's illegal dragon hatching, learns how to play quidditch to help win the Quidditch cup at school, or fights with Malfoy, he is participating in subplots.
  • While Iggy's main goal is to prove himself and show everyone he can do something with his life, there is one example of a subplot when Mo gets in trouble with Freddie and has to pay him back by Christmas.
  • The main goal for the kids in Lord of the Flies is survival and getting off the island, but as the kids try to survive, they encounter other problems that can be considered subplots: having to get food, choosing a leader, or even defeating "the beast."
Can you think of other examples of subplots in books or movies you've read?

What is a subplot that could happen in your novel as you keep writing?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Meeting word count goals

Hey everyone!

Like yesterday, you can choose to get your novel open and start writing once your computer loads.

I have a bit of a challenge for you in a few minutes. It will help you meet word count goal.

Today is November 6th. 
By the time you show up to school tomorrow, you should have about 20% of your word count goal completed. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Successful Writing Ninjas

Read first.

Once your computer is loaded, 
you may get your novel open and start writing. 

When you reach 10%, you may get your stickers from me to post next to your name!
(BUT - It must be validated on your NaNoWriMo account first.)

Some things you might have missed yesterday:
  • I'm grading your English Journals this week. Don't panic. If you've been preparing for NaNoWriMo with the class, and doing your classwork, you'll be okay.
  • November 19th - You have TWO book reviews due in Goodreads. Will you get time in class? Probably. But it will mean that you'll have less time to work on your novel in class.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Write Like a Ninja

This picture was taken in our classroom. Can you figure out where?
Today we're going to write 
like ninjas:

Fast. Silent. Deadly.

Okay maybe not deadly. 

A few things we need to address today:
  1. Yesterday was your 10% marker. Go to NaNoWriMo and update your word count now.
  2. Now fill out this form!
  3. Remember when we talked about sensory details? Here is a great list of words you might be able to use to create descriptions.
  4. I'm grading your English Journals this week. We won't be using them much while you write for NaNoWriMo.
  5. I know you have a lot of writing to be doing at home, but don't forget reading! By now you should be done with one book and reading your second. You have TWO book reviews due soon!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Let's Write!

Over this past weekend, we started writing our NaNoWriMo novels!

By the end of today, you should have finished 10% of your word count goal.

We will spend most of today writing, but we need to talk about how you update your NaNoWriMo account to show your word count progress.

This is something you do EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Let's practice.