Tag Archives: nanowrimo

[W] The Wig in the Window by Kristen Kittscher

26 Apr

(Part of this post was first written for my Materials for Tweens class.)

Even though they are very different, Sophie Young and Grace Yang are best friends who live in Luna Vista, a small coastal town an hour away from Los Angeles. When the would-be spies find the lights on in the middle of the night in the house of Sophie’s school counselor, Dr. Charlotte Agford, they think that they are a murder. It’s not actually a murder, but the girls decide that Dr. Agford is definitely hiding something, and they will stop at nothing to find out what it is.

Sophie and Grace explore issues of friendship, perception, and assumptions in this fast-paced middle grade mystery filled with action and red herrings that will keep readers on their toes. The side characters are also interesting–hopefully they will have bigger roles in the sequels.

A discussion guide aligned with Common Core standards can be found here (includes activities).

Even though I have a bunch of other W books, I wanted to showcase The Wig in the Window because it was written by local author Kristen Kittscher, and I feel like the other books I had on my list are more well-known. I loved how Kittscher wrote about a community like the one I grew up in (a coastal California town) with a fast-paced mystery led by a diverse cast.

I first heard about this book during Nanowrimo when someone contacted me about coming to a writing group and linked to the Children’s Book Writers of L.A., who had an event at a local library with Kittscher as the guest. It sounded like a fun book, so I put it on hold at my library because I needed more books for my assignment that I was also doing in November.

This post is my Blogging from A to Z entry for the letter W.

Nanowrimo Day 3

3 Nov

Stickers I designed for NaNo Los Angeles (our theme this year is fairy tales :)). Come get one at a write-in if you’re in the area~

To go with the last sticker, here’s the prompt for today:

slipper / pumpkin / midnight



31 Oct

I can’t believe it’s almost November again already! I’m doing National Novel Writing Month again, and this year I’m a Municipal Liaison for my region, so I’ve been busy getting stuff ready for November. Alas, that means my poor, neglected blog was neglected even leading up to November.

But–! One of the classes I’m taking right now is a tween materials class, which means I have 50+ reviews of tween books and media coming after I finish this semester! (Which I will be doing while doing NaNo this year…..)

I’ve also been busy doing translations for FUNimation and trying to get my students up to Common Core standards.

We’re doing fairy tale themed writing exercises in my classes until NaNo is over (or I run out of ideas), so here’s the first prompt:

beanstalk / boots / cow

Ready, set, write!

[3 words] trapdoor/cellphone/waterfall

4 Dec

Originally written Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ryo brushed his fingertips along the wall as he walked, more out of habit than anything else, not really expecting to find anything.

He was surprised when his fingers caught on something. He stopped to get a closer look. There was a long vertical crack in the wall that was definitely not natural. He pushed next to it lightly, and a hole opened up in the wall. Without warning, Ryo fell into the hole and it closed up again behind him.

Ryo took his cell phone out of his pocket and shined the light of the screen on the wall, trying to see if he could find the door again, but the door was gone.

He had nowhere to go but down the dark hall. He tried to follow the wall in the direction that he was heading before, but he couldn’t tell for sure if he was going in the right direction.

In the distance, he could hear the sound of rushing water. “I thought we were in the middle of the city,” he muttered under his breath.

A moment later, the sound was gone. Maybe I was just imagining it, he thought.

After a while, he came to a stairwell. Remembering that they had climbed up stairs earlier, he headed down.

At the bottom of the stairs was a door with a crack of light shining through. He opened the door and was blinded by the light flooding into the passageway and deafened by the roar of a waterfall less than ten feet in front of him.

He jumped back in surprise and closed the door. The sound was gone, but he was still seeing spots.

He opened the door again, but this time it led out into the hallway, where the rest of the group was waiting for him.

(302 words)

Nanowrimo day +4 update: Happy December! I finished on the morning of the 29th with 57,768 validated words. 😀 (The scene above is actually an excerpt from my novel, slightly edited to make sense and stand alone.) 

[3 words] strawberries/scarf/jellyfish

19 Nov

Her lips stained red from the strawberries she had been eating just moments before, Hana wrapped the gauzy scarf tighter around her neck and held it in place with one hand, her other hand keeping her sunhat on her head. It was a lot windier at the beach than she had remembered.

Still, she was determined to go for her walk along the water. She tied her scarf firmly around her neck to free up one hand to hold her sandals and wriggled her toes in the wet sand. She watched as the tide came in and pulled the sand away from her feet, leaving behind nothing but smooth sand.

As she walked along the shore, she stopped occasionally to pick up a smooth rock and inspect a piece of driftwood. She even saw the remains of a jellyfish that had washed up on the sand.

After all these months away from the ocean, it was good to be back.

(160 words)

Nanowrimo Day 19 update: 53,073 words! (I made it past 51K on the 17th, and I wrote another 2K at a write-in today :))

[3 words] cliff/sponge/monkey

17 Nov

Originally written Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The girl ran to the edge of the cliff after her pet monkey, Bubbles, sponge still in hand. She had been washing dishes when Bubbles got out. When she got to Bubbles, the monkey grabbed the sponge out of her hand.

The girl became unbalanced and lurched toward the monkey. The momentum of the girl pulled them both over the edge of the cliff. Flailing her arms, the girl tried to grab hold of something, but her hands met thin air. The girl shut her eyes and held onto Bubbles as tightly as she could, preparing herself for the worst.

At that moment, she felt a rush of wind as wings unfolded beneath her from out of her monkey’s back, and the two of them floated safely down to the ground.

(131 words)

A flying monkey in honor of Nano. 😉

Nanowrimo Day 16 update: 43,655 words, and I hope to hit 50K tomorrow (today)!

[Aria] アリアの旅 p3

14 Nov

(Scroll down for English. Continued from page 2. Start from page 1. Other pages can be found here.)















Go? Go where?

As a child, I dreamed of making my father’s company the best in the world.

I still feel the same way now.

Since Daddy was the president of a large company, I guess in a way, I did grow up like a modern-day princess.

I didn’t lead a normal life, anyway.

But I was so busy studying every day to take over the company that I didn’t lead what you would call a “charmed life” either.

Daddy didn’t have any sons, so he entrusted me with everything.

I guess my little sister was the one who got to be spoiled.

Not that I was jealous or anything…

It’s just that now that I’m all alone,

even though I know it’s impossible,

I want to be spoiled a little, too…


Nanowrimo Day 13 update: 35,053 (8 days ahead!)

[Aria] アリアの旅 p2

11 Nov

(Scroll down for English. Continued from page 1. Other pages can be found here.)














As if I could be the princess?

My name, my life, everything was different, and everyone in my family was alive and kicking.

I have no memory of a twin brother, so that part was the same as the story, but that was probably just because he didn’t exist in the first place.

Instead, I have a little sister seven years younger than me who doesn’t show up in the fairy tale at all.

I *had* a little sister.


The fairy tale was actually more like a prophecy.

On the day I turned 16,

I lost my entire family.

“Go, Aria–”

These were my mother’s last words.


Nanowrimo Day 10 update: 27,545 (6.5 days ahead, but I have to write a little more outside of write-ins if I’m going to finish by my goal of Nov. 18…)

[Aria] アリアの旅 p1

10 Nov

Here’s the first page of the Japanese cell phone novel adaptation of my 2011 NaNovel. Enjoy!

(I originally wrote this in Japanese, but you can scroll down for the English translation. There should be a trackback at the bottom of each page linking to the next page in the novel. Other pages can be found here.)














Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a beautiful princess.

From the time she was born, she shone like the bright, blue skies, so they called her “Aria.”

The princess had an older twin brother, but when they were very young, the two became separated.

The princess grew into a beautiful young woman with no memory of her brother.

However, one day, an evil sorceress appeared.

She held a grudge against the royal family, and so she arranged for a massacre at the palace.

The only one to survive

was Princess Aria…

My mother often told me this fairy tale as I was growing up,

but I never thought

that the princess in the story

could be me.

When I first found out, I thought someone was playing a joke on me…

Nanowrimo Day 9 update: 21,948 (4.2 days ahead, but I’ve been saving up for a six-hour write-a-thon and haven’t written much on my own…)

[3 words] News

6 Nov

Thanks to word wars at write-ins, I’m way ahead on Nano this year, but in the middle of switching documents at one of those said word wars yesterday, I managed to erase the document I had with all my [3 words] stories and writing prompts in them… In the panic of getting ready for November, I didn’t get a chance to back up the document or schedule any posts ahead. 😦

However, I do have back-up content for you! I have the beginning of a cellphone novel that I am writing based on my NaNovel from last year. I never finished it, but I wanted to post some writing this month, and making it public will probably make me more likely to write a few more pages now that I’m writing for Nano again.

Here’s a prompt for today and a Nano update:

grasshopper / cape / museum

Nanowrimo Day 5 update: 19,243 words! (6.5 days ahead)