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Young Writers Program

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The Young Writers Program (abbreviated YWP) is a youth-oriented event run by National Novel Writing Month alongside NaNoWriMo (and Script Frenzy from 2007-2012). Students doing NaNoWriMo in K-12 classrooms, writers under 17 participating on their own, and educators leading a classroom all partake in the NaNoWriMo experience. Writers over thirteen who are participating on their own may join the main NaNoWriMo site but lose the ability to set their own word count goal.

In the month before NaNoWriMo or Script Frenzy, writers participating in a classroom learn about characters, plot, and other concepts that are relevant to writing a novel or script. They also set a goal that is reachable but challenging. Writers can also discuss their stories and get ideas on the youth-friendly YWP forums, which are viewable only to logged-in members.

YWP Wrimos may also participate in the light version of Camp NaNoWriMo on the Young Writers Program forums. Writers over 13 may also sign up on the main Camp NaNoWriMo site and set their own goal if they wish.

All forums on the YWP are considered All-Ages and are currently moderated by Rob Diaz (2012-present). Previous forum moderators include Cylithria Dubois (2011) and Heather Dudley (until 2011, although she continues to oversee all the NaNo forums).

The YWP website was originally created in Drupal; however, the Stories of Tomorrow Campaign fundraising campaign of 2014 raised funds to completely redesign the YWP website. The redesign was launched in 2016.

Wrimos between the ages of 13 and 17 may participate in the YWP or the adult NaNoWriMo site; however, they must write at least 50,000 words in order to be declared a winner on the adult site.


By 2004, the NaNoWriMo staff had heard from numerous teachers who had integrated NaNo into their curriculum. Ellen Martin was appointed as a contact person for these teachers and stayed through 2005 as the Young Writers Program director. In 2006, Karlyn Pratt took over the role, and when Script Frenzy was introduced in 2007, the Young Writers Program was also introduced, with Tavia Stewart-Streit as YWP director. She held this job through Script Frenzy 2010 until moving to the operations manager position full-time. Chris Angotti joined the NaNo team in July 2010 as the new YWP director and later directed all the programs in addition to YWP. Marya Brennan is the current YWP director.

YWP for Educators

NaNoWriMo offers Common Core-aligned curricula for Young Writers Program classrooms, with lesson plans ranging from pre-writing to publishing. Three lesson plans are available: elementary school, middle school, and high school. NaNoWriMo also offers classroom kits, including a progress chart, stickers, and buttons, for classrooms to keep track of their progress and motivate students.


The forums are most active in November, of course, but many writers are on year round. Because the forums are visible only to logged in members (and members must be young writers or educators), not much is known to the outside world about YWP culture and community. However, the community has evolved independently of the main NaNo community with some of the same terms [1].

The Young Writers Program has a wiki maintained by community members that reveals some of the community aspects.

List of forums

  • Official Announcemenrs
  • NaNo Prep
  • Rules and Regs
  • Tech Help and Bug Reports
  • Feedback and Suggestions
  • First Timers
  • The Lounge
  • Critiques and Feedback
  • Art Class
  • Character Cafè
  • Fan Clubs, Video Games, and Websites
  • Games and Silliness
  • Graduating from the YWP
  • Groups and Clubs
  • Novelling Tips
  • One on One
  • Poetry, Short Stories, and Other Non-Novel Forms
  • Roleplaying
  • Worldbuilding and Plot Help
  • Word Wars and Writing Prompts
  • YWP Marketplace

External Links