Parents' Guide to

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program

By Polly Conway, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Delightful crash course warmly guides budding novelists.

NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this website.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+

Risky social media, embedded in a good writing site

Nanowrimo is a site for writers, and its YWP (Young Writers Project) section includes legitimate educational content targeted to "writers 17 and under." The problem is YWP's Forums section, which has all the perils of any social media site for teens, including social media addiction. These forums have moderators who prevent the use of obscenity, and teens can productively share their stories and poetry and writing tips. However, teens also treat the YWP forums as a virtual community, and moderators do not prevent teens from sharing private and personal information along with their writing. The YWP forums include and encourage discussions of sensitive issues with strangers. Teens use the forums to discuss (and sometimes glorify or normalize) suicidal thoughts, self-cutting, addictions, mental health issues, gender identity questioning, and sexual exploration. (It should also be noted that outside the forums, teen writers are free to create fiction on equally controversial or triggering subjects.) In order to maintain a "supportive" community in the forums, negative comments are not permitted; only affirmation is permitted. All of the above remains hidden from parents, since an adult cannot create an account to monitor childrens' activity on YWP unless they identify themselves as an educator or provide a false birth date.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (13):

Taking their successful grown-up writing contest and adjusting for kid success, NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program is wildly engaging and brimming with advice and encouragement. The front page features fun writing activities that can be pursued within a novel or on their own, including the Dare Machine, a prompt creator that dares kids to complete tasks like "Make one of your characters fall in love with the villain." Turning the huge task of writing a novel -- something that even most adults are intimidated by -- into a fun and doable challenge really works here. The folks behind NaNoWriMo are writers who understand the process and break it down beautifully for kids.

NaNoWriMo's concept of "winning" is outstanding: if you finish what you started, you've won! Kids also get to display a winner's badge on their page after verifying their word count.

Website Details

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