Teach K12 Novel Writing: Where to Start

November is National Novel Writing month, making it the perfect time to teach a unit on creative writing.  Fictional narrative is unique from academic writing, leaving students confused about how to approach creative writing. Check out this infographic for tips and inspiration to help your students write their best draft yet.

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  • Have student’s start a writer’s journal

    Free-flow writing lets students overcome the hesitation of how to approach creative writing, making a Writer’s journal a perfect starting point for students. At the beginning of each writing session, provide 5-10 minutes of free-flow writing as a warm-up exercise. You can always add to this time, depending on your grade level. As a bonus, these journals can be a source of inspiration for their novel.

    • Give students writing prompts

    Coming up with an initial idea for a story can be challenging for budding writers. Give students a lift by providing a few writing prompts to work from and see where their imagination takes them. You can even have students break out into small groups and read each other’s stories to highlight the uniqueness of everyone’s writing style and voice.  

    • Give students assignments to read and collect writing samples

    The old adage that reading makes a good writer is true. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Have students read poems, newspapers, magazines or other source material and have them document their favorite passages, paragraphs, or even sentences that they’d like to emulate.

    • Develop strategies for overcoming learning or language barriers

    Not all students read or write at the same level, and these students can get caught up in grammar and transcribing their thoughts using handwriting or typing. Consider using speech-to-text tools like dictation software and Smartpens that record what students say, so they can focus on getting their creative ideas first and refine their grammar and spelling later.

    • Provide ample feedback

    Develop a robust feedback loop for students throughout a writing project to nurture their writing and editing skills. Creating an editing checklist can help students strengthen their next draft. Provide similar list for peer reviewers also. By setting a consistent time to review drafts weekly, you can pinpoint grammar issues or writing tips you’d like to highlight in your future lessons. As an added bonus, make sure your students don’t save over past drafts, so that you can help them appreciate how far they’ve come in their writing.

    Share your thoughts and writing tips with us in the comments below!



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