If you walked into Meyer 220 on a Tuesday night this quarter, you would see students writing together and critiquing each other, each trying to complete a 50,000-word novel in just one month. This room is the home of two experimental creative writing classes at Stanford: “NaNoWriMo,” short for “National Novel Writing Month,” and “The Graphic Novel.” The force behind both of these classes is creative writing lecturer Tom Kealey.
Often, writing is perceived as a solitary endeavor, but Kealey encourages his students to work collaboratively, and his classes reflect this approach.
“The idea of collaborative writing is really crucial,” Kealey said. “In most classes we’re taught the ‘lone genius’ concept.”
Instead, he likes to see teamwork taught in writing as much as independence.
“It’s difficult sometimes to write in a vacuum,” Kealey added. “And for students to bounce ideas off of each other, to give suggestions, it’s an amazing thing to see.”
For November, which is National Novel Writing Month, creative writing lecturer Scott Hutchins floated the idea for a class where students write 1,667 words a day for each of the 30 days of November. The goal is 50,000 words (about the length of Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”) by the end of the month.