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National Novel Writing Month: Streaming Videos

Write a novel in 30 days!

Highly viewable, engaging videos covering authenticity, character-building, genre, handling rejection and more

(just click on one to view!)

Being a writer isn't all book signings and fat royalty checks. By looking squarely at the potential downside of the writing life—rejection letters, second-novel syndrome, and really bad reviews—this program offers insider tips on coping while encouraging viewers to press on to success. Professional writers such as Martin Amis, Pat Conroy, Joyce Carol Oates, and Maxine Hong Kingston are joined by an editor, an agent, and a publisher to share knowledge they've accumulated in the school of hard knocks. In addition, depression, an illness frequently linked in the popular imagination to the writer's art, is explored by Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. Some language may be offensive. (30 minutes) 

In the novel-driven world of popular fiction, graphic novels and short-short stories haven't had much of a place—until recently. In this program, Art Spiegelman, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus; Giller Prize-finalist John Gould, writer of 55 fiction and palm-of-the-hand stories; and others who are daring to be different share their successes with these robust genres. Topics range from the influence of manga on the rise in popularity of graphic novels to a growing respect in literary circles for compressed forms of fiction. Portions of graphic novels by Spiegelman and others and readings by Gould are included. (29 minutes)

How important is the opening line of a book? Does a writer always have to know what is going to happen next? Where should the line be drawn between historic fact and historical fiction? And what are the particular challenges of writing a biography? Drawing on the expertise of Edvard Radzinsky, Fay Weldon, Anson Cameron, John Lanchester, Nicholas Shakespeare, and other respected authors, this program answers each question with candor and wit—and judging from the authors' responses, there are as many ways to approach storywriting as there are writers. (27 minutes)

This program explores the process approach to writing instruction, asserting that the act of writing is more than simply the completion of a product; it is a complex, creative, and unpredictable progression of ideas and strategies. With commentary from veteran writing instructors -- including Dr. Lois Matz Rosen, author of Within and Beyond the Writing Process in the Secondary English Classroom, and Michael Steinberg, author of The Writer's Way: A Process Approach to Writing -- the program outlines specific group activities for each step in the process: invention, drafting, sharing work in progress, revising, and editing. Lively footage from high school and college classrooms show instructors circulating among groups of highly engaged students, offering advice and suggestions through formative rather than summative evaluation. Accompanying the program is a workbook containing a teacher workshop outline and activities, as well as teacher resources, tools, and student-based learning projects. A stylish, inspiring guide to an effective and thoroughly tested teaching method, the Teaching Writing package provides vital preparation for any composition, journalism, or creative writing instructor. Recommended for grades 11-14. Correlates to English Language Arts standards and Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) Information. A viewable/printable teacher's guide is available at A Films for the Humanities & Sciences Production. (45 minutes)

  •  Writing Process: Research.  A Films from the Humanities production.  Made available by the OhioLINK Digital Resource Commons.

Authenticity is essential to any novel worth reading, and serious authors will go to great lengths to establish it. Drawing on the insights of Roddy Doyle (Oh, Play That Thing), Andrew Pyper (The Trade Mission), Kerri Sakamoto (One Hundred Million Hearts), and Ray Robertson (Moody Food), this program explains why solid facts make great fiction. Their emphasis on firsthand experience via travel—the Amazon jungle, Hiroshima, the karaoke circuit, 1920s New York—reinforces the principle that not everything in fiction should be made up. (26 minutes)