Thursday, 16 January 2014

One Year Adventure Novel: Week 1

This year for my birthday I asked for the One Year Adventure Novel writing course, even though I graduated high school last year (in November, since I’m from Australia). I wanted something to occupy my time in the coming year—aside from work—but didn’t want the pressure of a university course. OYAN suited my needs perfectly.

The One Year Adventure Novel (or OYAN) is a writing curriculum for students in grades 8-12. It guides students through the process of writing a structured, compelling adventure novel over the course of one school year (for more information, see here).

I discovered OYAN back in 2011 when I first decided to extend my writing beyond fan fiction. However, at the time, I was attending grade 10 at a local high school and didn’t want to overextend myself with a home schooling course. Instead I chose to do NaNoWriMo that year (which also happens to be the only year I’ve won so far). The following year, I revisited the site and ordered a demo disk. BIG mistake. Now I had to get it. The problem was, I still had another year of schooling to go. Fast-forward another year, to yesterday.

After almost two weeks of obsessively checking the USPS tracking site, the course arrived. Since I knew the only help my parents would be giving me is feedback during the second half of the course, I decided to read the first few chapters of the Teacher’s Guide

(Notice the strategically-placed red slip?)

 (When researching about OYAN, I really wanted to know the size of each book. The top 4 things are standard-sized dvd cases as a reference)

From a teaching perspective, this curriculum is a breeze. There are 78 pre-recorded lessons that come with the course, as well as a textbook (The Compass), a workbook (The Map), a novel (The Prisoner of Zenda), and a resource disk with weekly quizzes. First the student watches the lesson (that usually goes for around 10min), then they read a page or two from the textbook that helps reinforce the lesson, and finally they work through some questions in the workbook (or during the second half of the year, they work on their novel). Some days there are assigned chapter readings from The Prisoner of Zenda, or a quiz to complete (the latter at the end of each week).
Lesson Topics Include:
1 The Heroic Quest

2 Point of View

3 The Synopsis

4 The Five Elements of Story
5 Someone to Care About

6 Someone to Care About, pt 2
7 Something to Want

8 Something to Want, pt 2

9 Something to Want, pt 3

10 Something to Dread

11 Something to Dread, pt 2
12 Something to Dread, pt 3
13 Something to Suffer

14 Something to Suffer, pt 2
15 Something to Suffer, pt 3
16 Something to Learn

17 Something to Learn, pt 2
18 Something to Learn, pt 3
19 The Supporting Cast

20 The Villain

21 Synopsis, pt 2
22 Conflict
23 Disaster
24 Dilemma
25 Acts and Scenes

26 The Four Defining Chapters

27 Chapter One: The Inciting Incident
28 Chapter Three: Embracing Destiny
29 Chapter Nine: The Black Moment
30 Chapter Eleven: The Showdown
31 The Novel Outline: Formulas, Plots and Subplots
32 Chapter Two: Promises, Prophecies, Predicaments
33 Chapter Four: The New World

34 Chapter Five: The Middle Cycle

35 Chapter Six: Failure

36 Chapter Seven: Lessons

37 Chapter Eight: Achievement & Atonement

38 Chapter Ten: The Coming Storm

39 Chapter Twelve: Denouement
40 How to Write a Chapter
41 Creating Emotion

42 The Illusion of Reality
43 Summary (Telling)
44 Detail (Showing)

45 Narrative Order
46 Dialog
47 Gestures

48 To Be or Not To Be
49 Too Many Modifiers
50 Sliding Eyes & Grasping Hands

51 Symbols
52 Flashbacks
53 I Saw, I Heard

54 Raising the Stakes
55 What’s Likely to Go Wrong?
56 Falling Bodies (What to do when stuck)
57 The Character Interview
58 Setting
59 Character Masks
60 Character Handles
61 Unexpected Humor
62 Unexpected Tragedy
63 Unexpected Grace
64 Clich├ęs
65 Irony
66 Cliffhangers
67 Voice
67 Transparency
68 Double Disasters
70 Writing the Climax
71 Setups & Payoffs
72 Deus ex Machina
73 Loose Ends
74 Parting Words
75 Revision & Rewriting
76 Revising by Verb
77 Formatting Your Manuscript
78 Sharing & Publishing Your Novel
 Yesterday I worked through lessons 1-3, simply because they felt more like introductory lessons. If you’re like me and looked up every resource you could find about OYAN, then these lessons may feel a little repetitive—but don’t worry, it speeds up.

When the time came for me to write a short synopsis, I struggled. A LOT. The story I have is really complex (remind me not to write about time travel in the future) and doesn’t fit well with any of the contexts supplied. Think Warm Bodies / Doctor Who / Time traveller’s Wife / Merlin / Futurama, and you’re still just brushing the surface. At the moment I’m trying to break away the complex exterior to find the underlying story beneath.
I’m not sure how often I’m going to blog about my novelling adventure. This is more for my own benefit, but you’re welcome to come along for the ride =)

Until next time,

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

I Suck At This...

It's official, I suck at updating regularly.

I didn't technically win NaNoWriMo this year (2012). I got to about 20,000 words, but life--and leadership camps--got in the road.

One positive has been that every day since November 1st, I have written something.

Tomorrow is my birthday =) So maybe my present from you could be forgiveness for my irregular blog updates (^.^)

...It was worth a try.

Friday, 2 November 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012, Day 2 (early 3)

Word Count: 3036

Every word was a struggle today.
At the moment I'm still in the introductory stages in the novel, so nothing exciting has happened yet.

I plan on changing the first scene to something more exciting (after NaNoWriMo is over of course). This always happens in my books. The first few thousand are there to get the creative juices flowing, but it isn't until chapter 3 that something happens.

I was already behind today after having to tutor my little sister and trying to inspire her to reach her word count. As a result, I got a total of 40words written in two hours. Hopefully I can catch up to the set word count

Lets wait and see...

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Night Circus

This game reminds me of the choose-your-own-adventure books, except you don't die if you choose the wrong card, you are transported further into the Night Circus. Just as amazing as the book!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Script Frenzy

I'm attempting Script Frenzy this year. I didn't know how it'd go since I've never used that format before. But after a while it does get easier.

I'm part planning it part freaking-the-heck-out cause I really don't have much of a plan. Just to give you an indication on how plan-less I am, I only came up with the characters this morning.

But I'm enjoying it nonetheless.

Good luck Screnziers, and may the plot bunnies be with you. =]

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


I was wrong in my last post; 1667 words is not that much. However, leaving it to the last minute meant that the last five days of November were 5k days consistently. Yesterday was the 30th of November, and in order to win, I wrote 7995 words (I didn't find out that I was just five words shy of 8000 until after midnight). In the end, my final word count was 51,017 words, giving me the title WINNER! I congratulate everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo this year for your ability to dream of a world unlike our own.

Friday, 4 November 2011


I decided to take part in NaNoWriMo this year, but it's amazing how on October 31 you think that 1667 words a day isn't that much. But by 12:01am on November 1, you've realized how wrong you truly were. This happened to me, but I'm curious to see if anyone else experience this.