ST. JOHN | Eighteen middle school students at Crown Point Christian School have embarked on an adventure that takes each of them to a different part of the country.
The students are participating in the National Novel Writing Month Young Writers Program, the world's largest youth writing event. For one month, students are asked to let their imaginations run loose and spin a story, writing a minimum of 30,000 words in a month. The students began the project Nov. 1 and will conclude at the end of the month, writing about 1,000 words a day.
Crown Point Christian School's campus is in St. John. Denise Detmar, the school's differentiated teaching/gifted and talented instructor, said the students are challenged to write a novel in one month. She said 26 students initially signed up to participate but it dropped down to 18 students in sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade. She said the students log onto their computers and write when they are at home, and before and after class as well as free minutes during the day.
Every book tells a different story. One student recounts the tale of a young girl with cancer and the challenges she faces. Another story is about a princess who is captured and has to find her way back home.
Sixth-grader Kaylee Huyser, 11, of Crown Point, is writing about a boy who visits his grandfather and finds a partial piece of a treasure map in a bottle floating along the creek. The young boy finds other pieces of the map and is able to put it together and finds a treasure, which he shares with others.
Sixth-grader Logan Pitsenberger, 12, of Dyer, said his story is about a 12-year-old genius who attends Harvard. The preteen's skills are unmatched and he's wanted by the nation's worst mob groups to make weapons and drugs. The preteen is kidnapped again and again, and each time he devises new ways to escape.
The students created their own story after going through training about what a novel contains, developing a conflict and creating a protagonist and an antagonist, then a conclusion. Detmar said the novel also falls in line with the Indiana Common Core Standards.
Detmar said the students are not to do any editing right now, but will work on editing their novels in December. She intends to publish the student books through an online service called Create Space, which will design and self-publish the novel.
"It has been such a delight to work with the kids who want to learn and are excited about writing," Detmar said.
While writing the book is work, all the students say they are enjoying the process and want to participate again next year.