Saturday, November 20, 2010

Inspiring The Future Through Writing

Today at Three Wicked Writers Plus Two, we turn the floor over to Qwillia Rain. Qwillia is published with Loose Id Books and is having her seventh release there on November 16th. Qwillia is my "go to" person with all things BDSM as she has thoroughly researched the lifestyle and I consider her to be a true expert of the genre. Her stories are sexy as hell and always include a heart-warming romance. Stop by Loose Id Books and pick up one of her titles. I'm sure you'll become just as big a fan as me.

Take it away, Qwillia!

I’ve always disliked the phrase “Those who Can - Do; Those who Can’t - Teach” not just because it devalues a huge population of the world. I am a teacher and I Can and Do! And my students know it.
Just what do I do? you ask.

I inspire. I tickle to life the dream of sharing an idea within each of my students. Currently, I am utilizing the Young Writers Program (YWP) associated with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to guide nine students -- from kindergarten through eighth grade -- in writing their own ‘novel.’ At the same time, they are egging me on to a goal they set for me, to write a young adult novel they can read.

Why would my kids set a goal for me instead of me setting it -- well, probably because they know I’m a published author, but the genre I write (erotic romance) is one I have told them they are not allowed to read until they turn eighteen (although I would prefer they be twenty-one). Being under the age of thirteen, none of them have the patience to wait until they grow up. Go figure.

I introduced YWP NaNo to my students two years ago. The first time it was an assignment in my computer class, allowing students from second through eighth grade to use the forty minutes once a week to key in their story and work toward meeting their word count goal. The second time, several students approached me about participating, so I told them they could use the class time to write or do the assignments I gave them.

With this being the third year, how did I prepare for YWP NaNo with a pack of novice and not-so-novice writers? Very carefully. More importantly, I waited for them to ask first. Which, in this situation, started in August. No sooner had we finished the first week of school than I had three students approach me about NaNoWriMo. The previous two years I’d seen some success, but I thought I’d try an afterschool program.

A program that almost didn’t start since I resigned my teaching position the week the writing club started. Fortunately, the school allowed me to continue and for the last six weeks, two afternoons a week for ninety minutes each day, the kids worked on completing plotting and prewriting exercises. YWP has some great resources, too. There are even three great preparation workbooks for the different grade levels (elementary, middle, and high school) which I’d used in the two previous experiences with NaNo.

As part of the writing club activities, I discussed setting as character, including back story, and character motivation. The kids scribbled away like fiends, bouncing ideas off one another and asking ‘what if’ questions. They’ve very diligently filled in worksheets; analyzed how to start and where to start; brainstormed directions for their story to go. Good thing about YWP, the kids aren’t required to produce 50,000 words by the end of November like the grownups do. They only have to produce approximately one thousand words per grade level. Which means my kindergartener needs to write at least 500 word; my first grader -- 1,000; my third grader -- 3,000; my three fourth graders (one just began today) -- 4,000; my two sixth graders -- 6,000; and my two eighth graders -- 8,000.

I’m sure there will be great moaning and gnashing of teeth, but I’m excited. The kids are too. They were especially excited to learn that a group of NaNoWriMo authors would be meeting at a coffee shop on the first night. After I talked to the parents of the kids, we made arrangements to meet and see what it was like.
November arrived with a great deal of anticipation. Not because it heralded the beginning of the holiday season but it marked the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Picture this -- A packed coffee shop, every table, booth and chair occupied by furiously typing/writing men, women, teenagers of both sexes, and in walk five elementary age students. Their dark brown eyes go wide as they move closer to their mom. Pure terror, right?


Pure amazement and churning excitement. As their ‘teacher’ I’ve been warning them that when an author writes her book, she tends to put everything down on the page. The first draft is a quick, get-the-idea-on-paper, and worry about it making sense later.

They didn’t believe me. At least not until they entered the coffee shop to see my words in action.

What made everything even better was how impressed and supportive the kids’ mothers were. Once the initial shock dissipated and we were able to claim an area of the shop for ourselves, those kids (three boys and two girls) garnered their own audience.

Several times in the ninety minutes we were there, I would look up to catch one of the grownups grinning at the sight of the children bent over their papers, feverishly scribbling away. There were a few comments from the boys -- ‘I’m not sure I like this’; ‘I need to start over’; ‘Maybe I should try writing about …’
Every time they started to doubt what they were doing, how their stories were progressing, I kept reminding them -- “NaNoWriMo isn’t about editing, it’s about getting the story on the page. This is the dirty rough draft stage. We’ll polish and edit it after you get it all down on the page.”

Which was all they needed to get right back to writing.

And what I need to do is pay attention to my own advice, because of all of us, I was the only one without a word count by the end of the night. Heck, even the kindergartener had dictated over three hundred words to her mom!
So, remember, NaNo isn’t about making the story perfect, it’s about getting it on the page.

With that, here’s to making your word count in November -- I’m off… to get the story on the page.

About Qwillia Rain:
Qwillia Rain writes erotic romance for Loose Id, LLC. Her first book, Santa’s Elf, was published in December 2007, and her seventh novel, Diablo Blanco Club: Rite of First Claim, becomes available on November 16, 2010.

Diablo Blanco Club: Rite of First Claim


What’s a dom to do when the submissive he wants runs from the feelings between them? From the moment he met Lyssa Lawrence, Mike knew what he felt was love -- not lust. Convincing her has been an uphill battle even after the two steamy hours they’d shared at the Diablo Blanco Club four years earlier.

Lyssa Lawrence wished the man who claimed to love her wasn’t so damned appealing. Her repeated denials almost went up in smoke four years ago, but she’d gathered the nerve to tell him no when he asked for more. She’d have stayed away and ignored the submissive nature within herself if her biological clock hadn’t hiccupped, threatening her dreams of motherhood.

In the same way she’d strategized her success in fashion design, Lyssa worked out a plan to get the baby she wanted. The Diablo Blanco Club’s annual Midnight Masquerade would provide a number of potential donors to choose from. What she hadn’t bargained on was Mike’s interference through an arcane Club rule.

When Mike invokes Rite of First Claim, he has one month to prove the role of submissive was one she was born to but only for him.


Tess MacKall said...

The world needs more teachers like you, Qwillia. Your level of commitment shines through. Those kids are so incredibly lucky to have you in their corner.

And congrats on being able to write full time now. The world needs more of your books as well.

Brindle Chase said...

Great interview Qwillia! Kudos to you for teaching and doing it well. I've always thought teachers are grossly underpaid. So much of our future and our children's rides on quality education. I've had a few good teachers, most mediocre and a few rotten apples as well. Of my best teacher, like you said, they found a way to inspire me. One such, Mr. Krager, my 6th grade English teacher, inspired me to be a creative writer... and now I'm a fledgling author! I remember him to this day! I hope every child has the opportunity to have a teacher like you Qwillia!!!

C. Zampa said...

Brava to you for helping to inspire these people---especially these children---to write!

Tess MacKall said...

I had a teacher like that in 8th grade, Brindle. Ms. Harbour. She was great. Always had extra time to spend talking to a student.

And she was the only teacher I ever had who went the extra mile in giving us ways to express ourselves. Like she put on a school play. It was a major production too. Especially for 8th grade.

Then all the rules of teaching seemed to change and more paperwork was piled on her and poof, she was gone. Off into the private sector where she could make more money. Can't blame her at all. She was a doll though.

Madison Scott said...

Great post, Qwillia! Very inspiring. Thanks for blogging with us.

Qwillia Rain said...

Thank you Tess,

I like having the opportunity to work with the kids. They've really gotten into the stories they're developing.

And the kids are showing me up in the word count arena.


Qwillia Rain said...


Thank you for the support. I, too, was lucky enough to have forward thinking teachers in school. I enjoy ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder) and had it even as a child when people called it "problem-child" syndrome. But my third grade math grade teacher found out that if he made me analyze poetry, I'd actually sit still when I finished my math assignments. LOL.
I just wish the US would recognize the importance of education and the role teachers have in childrens' lives.


Qwillia Rain said...

Thank you C. Zampa,

I love working with the kids and I miss not going in everyday, but I think I've made a choice that's better suited to me.


Vee said...

That was a lovely post. How wonderful to inspire children to start writing their own novels and believe in themselves!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post Qwillia, and thanks for the time you put into those kids. You prove that little ripples count for a lot of waves.
Very inspiring.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Wow, NaNo has really grown since I did my novel. I'm glad they have the student program and that adults like you are using it to turn kids on to writing. It's amazing what young people can do when they are inspired. Good for you, and I hope your own NaNo work goes well too.:-)

Tara Lain said...

Hi Qwillia--
Your post actually made me cry as i pictured those kids in the coffee shop. congratulations on your inspirational success. They are lucky to have you --as i expect you are to have them. Great post. Thank you. : )

Tam Linsey said...

Qwillia, I loved hearing about Young Nano-ers in action! thanks for sharing! And thanks even more for mentoring our next generation of fabulous authors!

Boone Brux said...

Thanks Qwillia for making a difference in the lives of our youth. As a mother I can't tell you how important and gratifying that is to hear. Keep up the excellent work, both teaching and writing:).


Qwillia Rain said...

Thank you Madison,

I appreciate you're letting me hang out with you ladies today.


Qwillia Rain said...


It's more the other way around. The kids keep inspiring me to continue writing and working on things that they can read.

They have such faith in my ability it makes me more determined not to fail them.

Qwillia Rain said...


You're right about little ripples. What's even better, is the fact that the kids learn that they can direct their own progress.
The hard part is going to be when we go to edits. LOL

Qwillia Rain said...


It's going great so far. Currently, the Kindergartener is the one in the lead, she did almost 400 words of her 500 on the first night.
One of my 8th graders is at the halfway point and considering the only time he's been able to use the computers is on Wednesdays and Fridays for 90 minutes, he's doing great.
I appreciate the effort the kids have put in on the stories and their dedication to getting their dreams on paper.


Qwillia Rain said...

Thank you Tara,

You're right, I am very lucky to have those kids.


Qwillia Rain said...


I know there's one student in the group who is more than determined to become a novelist and one of the other 8th grade girls has pulled her sister in in an effort to help her reading abilities.
I think it's fascinating that studies have shown a person who writes can actually increase his or her reading abilities.


Qwillia Rain said...


I love knowing that other parents like the idea. I know the parents of the kids have been very supportive of my project. I'm even going to talk to a lady about perhaps coordinating a larger group of students next year.

It should be interesting. LOL

Perhaps next year we can see if there are more local authors willing to help out students at schools from Elementary to High School all over the world to take the chance to write their own stories.


Kenzie Michaels said...

Kudos Quilla:) What a neat idea!

Two years ago, my oldest son decided to 'job shadow' me when he didn't have to take the state test. I made him write a story, and after some initial griping, he sat down and did it. And found out what I mean about 'getting in the zone'.

"You were right Mom; all of a sudden the ideas were flowing!"