Uncategorized writing

Moving Along with Revision

To get started with the revision process, we wrote a summary and looked at the whole piece. Next, Julia Green (whose revision workshop I’m basing these posts on) advises moving to the “line level,” where every line or sentence should be relevant to the summary, and noticing whether each bit of the text advances the story.

Line by Line

If something doesn’t contribute to the story, think about and look for instances where you’re bored or beginning to skim. If you’re bored, your readers will be, too. Mark that spot.

Are there places where things happen too fast—or too slow? Do you expect something to happen, but it doesn’t?

Do you wonder about something that’s missing and begin questioning the characters or text? Jot down those questions.

Does the piece need more background information or a more specific setting to ground the reader?

What about the dialogue and action? Would your character (a frustrated teen-aged girl, a compassionate dad, a mugger, a ______) really speak or behave this way?

Is the character’s motivation or desire clear?

Bird by Bird

This is a lot to look at and digest here. SO start with just one thing; don’t try to fix everything at once. Start with one area that feels accessible.

Do you need to go back and look at your character work-up to see his motivation, what he holds dear, his height and weight, or ways he would never behave?

Would your story benefit from you listening in on folks’ conversations or watching a movie or YouTube video of similar characters to catch their speech patterns and vocabulary?

Maybe beginning to write the answers to the questions that arose would be helpful as a starting point.

Once More

Try anything. Everything will reveal something about the piece and doing something is better than doing nothing.

Look for one more upcoming post on Revision. Bird. By. Bird.  ~ xoA

Stock photo. Photographer unknown.

Poetry writing

About that writing you were going to do…

If you’re like me, you come up with some good lines, starters for pieces you’ve imagined. But, it’s early morning, and you’re not willing to get up, to rise and shine a light onto a notebook page or a scrap of paper so you can get those lines down before they vanish. A fleeting thought later may bring a portion of the lines, but nothing as grand as your first ideas.

You attend virtual writing workshops, meet-ups, and come away with prompts, starter poems, lines other writers have shared in the chat box. National Poetry Month prompts appear in your inbox each day. You are building a great idea collection, but it’s stalled or going nowhere.

You promise yourself you will set aside time to write. But, then…

  1. You get stuck in email-land,
  2. which sends you to links of really important and interesting articles
  3. You drop in at Facebook—just to check on how your buddies are doing
  4. Real life happens, and you are called upon to do real stuff

Any number of things can and do throw up roadblocks to your writing. Heck, I thought about this post a week ago and am just now getting to it! Since that initial idea, I’ve taken a class, shopped for Adoption Day presents for our dear friends’ new infant (We ARE the honorary grandmas), attended two writing workshops, participated in several Zoom meetings, and watched umpteen Women’s NCAA basketball tournament games. At least we’ve now dismantled the jigsaw puzzle table!

The saving grace for me, even with life’s interruptions, is scheduling and blocking the time for writing. One method I use is allotting time in my planner, I set tasks for the day into the time slots the night before, so I wake up thinking about the jobs and can get started right away. Sometimes that time frame is loosened.

My most effective method of insuring my writing time is with an online mindful writing community called A Very Important Meeting. I schedule that on my calendar – because I may be loose with “write blog” or “newsletter,” but I will NOT miss or be late for “A Very Important Meeting.” And, it’s there that I’ve actually written a blog or a poem or a newsletter article. Sometimes, I journal or free write on a topic of interest. But the main thing is I am writing the whole time.

I’ve committed to attending AVIM twice a week. We join and chat with the group for five minutes, the leader takes us through a 10-minute meditation, we write on our own for 45 minutes, and have a check in for the last 15 minutes and discuss how our writing went and other writing/reading concerns and ideas.

We’ve developed a community of writers, the folks who regularly attend at the same time. And, that’s what I find drives me. To ensure my writing, I need time with people and our collective energy in addition to the time commitment.

What about that writing you were going to do? What is it that helps you focus and keep your word with yourself about writing?