National Novel Writing Month at Kaplan

Growing in popularity over the years, National Novel Writing Month in the US has become a fun and challenging approach to creative writing. Each November, writers across the country (and around the world) challenge themselves to create a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. So we at Kaplan thought we would take a shot at creating our own 30-day story, and we turned that responsibility over to our students to see what they came up with!

The rules were simple: each school got a paragraph from the story with no knowledge of anything that came before that paragraph. They then sent on the next paragraph, which traveled to a new school. That gave our students the chance to write whatever they wanted and take the story to some fun and unusual places! The story jumped from Philadelphia to Manchester to Sydney to Toronto and back around the world until it reached us.  And we’re ready to share with you the fantastic story our Kaplan students created, using their new English skills. Take a look!


national novel writing month
How often do you try to write in English?


Kaplan’s 30-Day Story

I was excited about moving to a new country. The first day I arrived, everything was so interesting and unfamiliar. My friend had been there before, so she suggested I get a cup of coffee at the world-famous café with the blue windows and purple door. When I walked inside, everything smelled delicious. I went to the counter to order my drink, but then the strangest thing happened.

Every person in the café started to run to the TV. First of all, I couldn't understand what was happening. I heard two words "President Hillary" then people started partying in the café and I understood what was going on! Most of the Philly citizens voted for the best candidate and they were all happy now. When I asked the barista for a cup of coffee, he said “you get free coffee today!”

All of the sudden, the lights went out and it was pitch black. A loud shriek came from outside the café. Everyone rushed out and I was shocked because there was a blonde woman in the middle of the street covered with blood. I went up to her and tried to help but she was on the verge of death. At that moment, she grabbed my hand and whispered, “Take this key and save the rest...”

For one moment, time stood still. All these thoughts whirring through my head: “Why me? How could I save them? And what’s this mysterious key for?”

But when I saw the last bit of life leaving her body, I realized it was all in my hands now. I gathered all my courage and started to run.

While I was running, a policeman stopped me because I was crossing the road when the traffic light was red. I didn't have time to answer him so I punched him in the face and continued running. After an hour, I arrived at the destination and there were 10 small green creatures waiting for me.

I was afraid because I expected they knew that I had the key to New York, which controlled the peace on earth. But I couldn’t give some stranger this important key. I was willing to die for the protection of our peace and the creatures were coming closer and closer to catch me. Suddenly, I heard a horrible noise that taught me what fear was. I saw a giant shadow followed by a big grey fire-breathing dragon in the air. It attacked the green creatures and I thought this was my chance to disappear.

But during the fight, I realized I had lost the key of New York, which was under my responsibility for so many years. So, I needed to find it! However, how could I escape from these monsters? The dragon and the green creatures were too strong and the fight seemed to be endless! That's when I came up with a plan that looked perfect at the time! I would pass through the big fight without being seen and I would do this hidden inside the cloud of smoke that the Dragon did when he blew a huge plume of fire!

The thick fog gave an eerie aura to the place where the battle was held. As the fog faded out, it became clear that the war came to an end. For the sake of both races, Dragons decided to abandon human lands. A few months later, a hiker found a dragon egg left behind in the mountains.  Ironically, history repeats itself but this time it was the turn of a dragon to be raised by a human.


national novel writing month
It's amazing the things your imagination can come up with


Student Writers (In Order of participation)

   Participating students    Kaplan School
   Ertugrulgazi Atalay (Turkey)    Philadelphia

   Hnoof Aladwaani (Kuwait)

   Mohamed Almamari (Oman)

   Laffi Alotaibi (Saudi Arabia)

   Hwi Choi (Korea)

   Camila Delgado Teran (Colombia)

   Rosa Herrera Bascones (Spain)

   Dongju Lee (Korea)

   Katja Knaus (Austria)    Vancouver
   Marta Casado de Aguinaga (Spain)    Sydney
   Annette Schmitz (Germany)    New York Empire State
   Alexandra Gomez Horta (Brazil)    Toronto
   Jesus Vasquez (Venezuela)    Bournemouth


Have you tried your hand at writing a 30-day novel? What about a short story? These creative writing exercises are a great way to practice your new English skills. Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.


Want to know more about our schools in the USA, the UK, and Australia? Contact one of our advisors for more information.

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