Sometimes when kids are told, “Write what you want,” there are rules attached: it must be at least 500 words, or it has to rhyme, or it should be based on a real-life experience, or it should include an introduction and conclusion, or it has to be completed within 50 minutes. Ugh!
The author of Stories of Doughnutville had not done much writing before last November. In fact, I think he was inspired to write by the novels published by some of his classmates the year before. And while intrigued by the creative possibilities, the project was a bit daunting.
That’s why I love the “yes-ness” of NaNoWriMo. Can I write short stories instead of a novel? Yes. Can it be silly and fun and wacky? Yes. Can all the characters be doughnuts? Yes! Doughnuts, and eclairs, and maple bars!!
In this illustrated collection of short stories, all the pastries—I mean, characters—live in Doughnutville. It’s a big city with tall buildings and a factory far from the inner city. There are a lot of jobs and tons of farms. Here is an introduction to two of the main players:
Bob is a doughnut. A plain, chocolate doughnut. He likes adventure. He is round and skinny. He has strawberry jelly blood. He sometimes lives by himself. When he is not living by himself he lives in his big apartment building with Mo.
Mo is a kind of long skinny doughnut. He is Bob’s friend. He lives in Bob’s apartment building. He is Bob’s roommate. He works at Doughnuts, Inc. He makes cars. He is Bob’s best friend.
I love that Doughnuts, Inc. makes cars! In sharp contrast to these first two delicious characters, Mr. Boss makes a menacing antagonist:
Mr. Boss is the boss of Dark Factory. He makes all the coal and it is really black and disturbing in there. He is a mean, square, glazed doughnut. He works with businessmen from other companies selling and buying factories and ripping people off. He is also known as Mr. Lame.
Stories of Doughnutville contains tales of action, adventure, and loyalty, and they are filled with sound: BOOM! Zing! Slurp, slurp. Whirl, whirl, whirl. Klang! Klang! Bob’s dog, Gum, only ever says, “Arf, arf!” but the two of them keep a dialogue going and Gum always seems to say just the right thing at the right time.
That’s probably why I appreciate NaNoWriMo so much: it inspires kids to write in joyful, noisy language, reminds them that they have a story only they can tell, and encourages them to write just the right thing at the right time.
Hooray! Klang, klang!! Arf, arf!
Ha ha! I couldn’t have said it better myself.