I am going to hole up with a brand spanking new project for
the month, thanks to the inspiration and peer pressure of National Novel
If you don’t already know about NaNoWriMo, you can find out
more here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/.
In a nutshell, NaNoWriMo challenges writers of all stripes to write a novel in
30 days. Forget perfect prose and plot holes, the goal is to get words on paper
(or, more likely, on a Word document). You win by penning 50,000 words by
I have never won NaNo, and I probably won’t this year either.
There have been many great novels that were born from the project, including Cinder, the popular YA debut by Marissa
Meyer. (She actually wrote 150,000 words that year during NaNo).
While I won’t win in word count, I will in focus.
That is what I love about November. For one month, I set
aside everything else to concentrate on a WIP.
Sometimes that is a rough draft, other years, it is revisions. Creative
writing is king during the month of November. By the time I emerge in December,
with disheveled hair and a messy house, I hope to have created something
The school librarian recommended this book to my fifth grade
son. I can see why. After browsing the internet, I see this book and its follow
up, Al Capone Shines My Shoes, both by Gennifer Choldenko,on recommended lists for boys who don’t like adventure stories.
Not that there isn’t adventure in this book. Young “Moose”
Flanagan braves breaching a fence of the yard in a maximum security prison to
look for a baseball. That takes guts.
The heart of the story is the relationship between Moose and
his autistic sister, Natalie. The meat of the story is the setting. They live
in 1935, when the renowned criminal Al Capone is in residence.
Moose is like most kids I know, or maybe he is just like my
kids. He loves his independence and
begrudgingly takes on responsibility, which he takes seriously. Yet he is still
a kid and drawn into the plots of the cute warden’s daughter and the appeal of
Al Capone does not actually appear in the book, but makes a
significant impact nonetheless, in a very powerful Al Capone way.