Archives: March 2012

Once the Baby Is Born

by Ruth Tenzer Feldman
Published on: March 31, 2012
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This is how I often envision my newly published book. What a sweetie! Family and friends, as well as assorted strangers, want to take a peek. They ooh and aah, and sometimes handle my creation less gently than I’d wish. They compare the wee babe to others they have seen. They ask me how I am doing. They have all sorts of suggestions about child rearing. They wonder if I plan to have another.

Yes, I am delighted to have Blue Thread out in the world. And, yes, I am delighted that other people notice! Still, this new baby stage is a mega-shift from the years of control I had over my story.

I am slowly assimilating the message that authors, like parents, have to learn to share and to let go. Readers, each with his or her unique mindset, complete a book. That’s what publication is all about. The public. Duh!

Viva Scriva, like any excellent critique group, has helped with the transition. The very act of my sharing chapter after chapter was the first step in wresting my manuscript from my iron grip of authorship. As readers, the Scrivas added their point of view and saw things in the manuscript that I couldn’t see or didn’t want to see. I can still hear Scriva Sabina saying, “In my version of your story….” As writers, the Scrivas offered “constructive criticism” in the very best sense of that phrase.

I know I’m stretching the baby analogy here, but it reminds me that “my baby” wasn’t ever all mine to begin with. The very spark of creativity was ignited with the help of someone else. Babies are not clones. You catch my drift. And on that delicious note, I shall finish this post and get back to my new work in progress.

Critique Monogamy?

by Addie Boswell
Published on: March 26, 2012
Categories: Other Topics
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Having been together now for nearly five years, we Scrivas consider ourselves a committed group. But Viva Scriva wasn’t our first love. No, most of us had 2-5 critique groups before. Like all relationships, they came to an end for a variety of reasons. The personalities didn’t jibe. The long-term goals were different. The timing was simply off. Now entering the mature phase of our group, we trust and support each other all the more. But… don’t assume we’re monogamous. In fact, you might be shocked to know the kind of “alternative” critiquing that goes on behind the scenes.

:ScrivaAmber, in her trans-media project Angel Punk, gets storyline critique and general big-picture editing from the non-writers who encompass her creative team and her investors.

:ScrivaLiz “hires” college students to act as writing interns. In exchange for editing her manuscripts and performing a range of other duties (research, transcription, marketing), Liz teaches the interns editing and writing career practices. As the most prolific Scriva, Liz also has a second critique group sometimes to keep up with demand.

:ScrivaRuth went one step further and partnered with a whole graduate student class (Ooligan Press at PSU) to put the just-released Blue Thread through the editorial wringer. Besides providing line edits and developmental letters, they also created the book’s design and marketing plan.

:And I had an epiphany a few years ago that my art could benefit from critique. So now I have an illustration group that meets monthly, and a “drawing buddy” I meet with once a week. (Single critique buddies are especially helpful for dipping your toes in, or if you write in a very specific genre.)

:And then there are editors and agents and copywriters, and sometimes researchers and experts, people you can hire. Online critique. Phone critique. Improv critique. Oh my!

After a bad group or some ugly feedback, its tempting to give up on the idea altogether. And we all know great writers who don’t show their work to anybody. But we writers who want to work consistently take our critique consistently, even when its painful and we don’t agree. So go find your perfect relationship. Break up and start over. Mate for life. Swing. Just, make sure you get your critique.

Making Up With My W-I-P: A little time, love, and tenderness goes a long way

by Nicole Marie Schreiber
Published on: March 22, 2012
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I’ve recently had a fight with my Work-in-Progress, and it hasn’t been pretty.

You see, I’ve been neglecting it these past few months…well, since the end of October actually.  It doesn’t understand how I am a writer and a teacher and a mother and a wife and have only a certain amount of time in my life.  It doesn’t accept that I’ve had to apply and interview for overseas teaching jobs that start in the fall for the last four months, and to do that takes time, all of my writing time in fact, and there was little time for anything else except caring for my family and working at my school.  Even my sleep was neglected.

It’s been hard.  I’ve missed my W-I-P dreadfully– my characters and setting,  turning in new pages of my W-I-P at my Scriva meetings, and actually doing the writing.

“Those Scrivas really get me,” my W-I-P would whisper in my ear late into the night, when I was trying to get some much-needed sleep for a 5 am Skype interview with a school in Europe.  “They love seeing me, reading me, fixing me up and rearranging me so that I’m all shiny and polished.  They want the best for me!  And you…” My W-I-P would turn to me and grimace. “You just toss me aside.”

It’s true.  I did have to toss my W-I-P aside for a little while, but I always knew I would come back to it.  And at the end of February, it was time for us to get reacquainted.

This was easier said than done.  What helped, you ask?

Keeping my toes in the children’s book world during the time I wasn’t writing definitely helped.  I kept on reading other middle grade and YA, even while flying across the country to teacher recruitment conferences (the plane is a GREAT place to catch up on reading).  Critiquing Scriva manuscripts and attending some of our meetings all helped, too.  Yet, when the time came for me to come face to face with my W-I-P again, I was scared.

Really scared.

Questions bubbled from my brain, like a comic strip character with multiple thought clouds extending from her head.  What if I can’t get into my story again?  What if I don’t remember key details in my plot?  What if the story doesn’t make sense to me anymore?  What if I read it, and I end up not really caring about my W-I-P anymore?

What if we have to break up?

Luckily, none of that happened.  But I didn’t just open my laptop and dive right in, either.  I progressed slowly and took baby steps getting back into reconnecting with my W-I-P, starting with getting back into the mindset of being a “writer” instead of  a“teacher.” Four months is a long time for me to be away from my W-I-P.  I needed to reacquaint myself with what it felt like to be a “writer” again in order to do the writing.

I began by following my favorite writer/author/agent/editor/children’s book blogs again a little bit each day at home.  I wanted to know what I’d missed in the world of children’s books while I’d been out of touch.  I had known and cheered for Hugo while watching the Academy Awards after having read it to my two boys and seen it twice at the theatre, but that had been the extent of my knowledge of the children’s book world since November, so I had a lot to catch up on.

During my blog perusals, I came upon Nathan Bransford’s excellent post about the exact same topic that I was going through– I was thrilled and recommend it to anyone who has been away from a W-I-P for a time and needs help getting back into the swing of things.  I followed his advice about starting with writing something small, like a blog post or a journal entry, and then going from there.  To not get on yourself and expect too much the first time you go back to your W-I-P and really start to write something for it.

After commenting on a few blog posts, I really felt the need to get back to my story.  But a broken relationship needs some quality time, so I took my W-I-P on a date to our favorite place, a place where we have gone through thick and thin together, where I have fallen under its spell of forgetting all time and space, where I have become totally immersed in my story.

Starbucks.

Not just Starbucks, but Starbucks at 5 am, when maybe one or two elderly gentlemen are there reading the newspaper, when it is quiet and peaceful and smells of coffee beans and hot chocolate.  Every relationship has its special places—places you go on anniversaries to, places where promises were made and memories created—and, scary as it is, Starbucks is my place with my W-I-P.

Many a scene has been written there at the early morning hours, sans kiddos asking me to break apart Legos or cut a hole in a cardboard box so that they can make it a boxcar like in the Boxcar Children (both equally important and fun activities, but not when you want to dive back into your W-I-P) .  I still thankfully have many Starbucks gift cards from the holidays (thank you family, friends, and families of students!) and I decided to write there for two hours one Saturday morning—just my W-I-P and me.

But my W-I-P would not have it.

“What?  You think you can just open me up on your laptop and start writing?  After what you did to me?  Think again!”

So I did think again, and I followed some of Nathan Bransford’s advice about not being too hard on myself the first time.  I began with looking at old “photo albums” that I had created with my W-I-P in mind– research notebooks and art from the period of my story that I had collected to help immerse myself in my setting.

I listened to our favorite music of the period again that I had downloaded with my headphones.

I reread my story and did a bit of revising.  I reread and revised my synopsis.  I started giving my W-I-P the proper time and nurturing it needed and so desperately wanted.  And then, clicking down to the end of where I had left off four months earlier, I started writing new material.

I didn’t write much– maybe a couple of paragraphs, but it was something and, remembering Nathan Bradford’s comment about not being too hard on yourself the first time you go back to working on your W-I-P after a long break, it felt good.

I knew I had to treat my W-I-P again to another date AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to keep up the momentum, so a few days later I scheduled another early morning writing time at Starbucks and wrote again, this time a whole scene!

Then, serendipity followed, as it can so many times with artistic endeavors, and I found a fabulous research book at my local library’s used bookstore upon which, while reading it, flooded me with new ideas and areas to take my story.  I had nurtured my W-I-P with a gift, and it had paid me back two-fold with inspiration.

This weekend, a few weeks after reintroducing myself to my W-I-P, I have taken it to the beach with my Scrivas on a writing retreat, and I find myself writing again.  Writing and creating a novel can really be like a maintaining a human relationship.  It takes time, energy, nurturing, patience, persistence, and even love to keep the relationship going, and I am so glad that my W-I-P and I didn’t break up, but made up instead.

 

Here are some ideas that helped me make up with my W-I-P.

 

–       read Nathan Bransford’s blog post!

 

–       Feed your writer’s soul by going on an “artist date” or a “writer’s date” just like described in Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”.  Go to a favorite park, the beach, the mountains, a bookstore, the library, a museum, anywhere you get inspiration.

 

–       Take your W-I-P on a date to where you can give it 100% of your attention.  If you can do that in your office at home, great.  Just make sure that there are no distractions.  I have many, many distractions at home, so I need to get away from the house.  A favorite coffee shop, the library, the park, anywhere you can.  Reread what you have written, if not all, but enough to remember where you’re going with the story.  Reread your synopsis.  Reread maybe comments from your critique group.  Peruse research and notes on your story, if you have any.

 

–       Take your W-I-P on a date AGAIN and very soon afterward, since I bet during the first time out after a long break putting words to paper didn’t come very easily.

 

–       Be easy on yourself the first time out, then keep on trying to give time to your W-I-P.  Try not to go away again from your W-I-P for some time, if you can. Make a schedule, even if it’s once a week for two hours.  Your story and your writer’s soul will thank you for it.

 

Happy Writing!

 

-Nicole Marie Schreiber

www.nicolemarieschreiber.com

www.nicolemarieschreiber.wordpress.com (blog)

On Bitching

by Elizabeth Rusch
Published on: March 20, 2012
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“I hate revising! It’s so f—ing hard!”

“I got a no from that agent I submitted to…”

“My editor is leaving and my book is totally orphaned.”

Why does almost every Scriva meeting start with a bitching session?

Let’s see the same quotes again, with some typical answers:

“I hate revising! It’s so f—ing hard!”

“No kidding, I hate revising, too. But you’re so good at it.”

“Yeah, I can’t wait to see it again after your revision…”

“I got a no from that agent I submitted to…”

“Her loss…have you sent it out to another one yet?”

“What did the letter say. Anything interesting?”

“My editor is leaving and my book is totally orphaned.”

“Man this business is so hard. It’s just crazy isn’t it?!”

“Your book is great. It will find its way. Have you talked to any one there about the marketing plan?”

Bitching is actually an essential element of our critique group meetings. Writing is a difficult, frustrating, infuriating vocation. The process of writing and revising and submitting and being rejected and being disappointed at how a published book fares can drive a lone soul crazy.

But we are not alone. We have each other — other writers taking the journey who know how hard it is. We can commiserate and encourage each other.

And so we do. Almost every meeting. And that’s a bitchin good thing!

5 Tips on Good Bitching

1. Don’t let it take over your meeting. Share, complain, snark, and commiserate. Then get down to the work at hand: Critique.

2. Share the floor. Even if you think you have more to complain about than anyone, let other people share their woes, too.

3. Be generous. With hugs, praise and encouragement, you can turn a critique buddy’s day, week or month around.

4. Leave room for good news, too. Things might be going well for some critique group members. Check up on them, too, so they don’t feel like they can only share bad news.

5. Take it outside. If someone seems really down or discouraged, consider following up with a phone call, email or note — or invite them to coffee or for a drink. They might need more time than the meeting would allow.

Sharing the good, the bad, and ugly is necessary sometimes — and can make your critique group closer and more effective.

So bitch away!

ScrivaLiz

www.elizabethrusch.com

 

Skiing and Writing: Parallel Tracks

by Sabina I. Rascol
Published on: March 16, 2012
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“Don’t laugh,” I told Steve. A couple of years before, he’d rented me my first pair of skis. The spring of 2008, I had big news to tell him. “I’m a ski instructor at Meadows!”

And that, dear readers, is my full disclosure. I teach skiing part time at Meadows Ski Resort to support my skiing habit.

Now, as it snows and snows up the mountain, Meadows’ spring pass just went on sale, and happy bluebird days are ahead, I present some thoughts about skiing. Skiing and writing. Parallel tracks.

IT’S FUN NO MATTER WHAT LEVEL YOU’RE AT
I liked my first turns on the bunny hill, carrying poles across my arms like a tray. Because I talked big, the afternoon of my first day my instructor took us to harder green runs than the next-step Buttercup. I had spectacular spills on what felt like canyon walls, yet was game for more. I loved it already.

I now drop into bowls, have made friends with bumps, and prefer visibility while skiing but know it’s not essential. I love skiing almost any way.

*
Journaling? Great.

Writing poetry, maybe more to understand and express feelings than to create art? Wonderful.

Letters to friends with felicitously-turned phrases? Very good.

Picture book sketches? Scenes for multiple novels-in-progress? First draft of the one you decide to stick with? BEAUTIFUL.

YOU CAN ALWAYS GET BETTER
I took lessons from the first, then practiced, focusing on one improvement or another.

I continue to practice. You know… Gradually initiating turns. Completing them properly. Being balanced over my skis. Not dropping my hands.

And I learn from other instructors, both skiing with them and participating in clinics with instructors so good they teach other instructors. I love knowing that when the best skiers on our mountain go catch some turns, even they still talk about what they can do better.

*
Write, write, and write some more.
Let your writing sit, look at it again, and revise.
Read about writing.
Go to conferences.
Read!
Repeat. : )

YOU LEARN WHEN YOU TEACH
I now know about my anterior tibialis, the muscle that should be firing for proper shin contact with boots. (Thank you, Rick Lyons! When I grow up, I am going to ski like you.) As an instructor, you learn to analyze someone’s movements. You learn how to break down and explain the mechanics involved in improving one’s skiing. And you show it all. Talking and demonstrating, you yourself learn.

*
I write instinctively, drawing from the knowledge of writing and story imbuing me from my lifelong love affair with books. Yet, designing my “Shaping a Story” school visit presentation, I took time to think analytically and isolate the building blocks of story. I extracted for others and for myself, and have ready for constant review, the basics we use without thinking but overlook at our peril.

Invited for a three-day visit as Poet-in-Residence at an area school, I verbalized for myself and others why in fact we need seemingly unessential poetry. That is an important affirmation I wouldn’t have arrived at if I hadn’t needed to articulate it for others.

Look for opportunities to teach others. It will stretch you and you will learn more about what you know.

IT’S MORE FUN WITH FRIENDS
In early days, I went up to the mountain more or less alone. So, apart from lessons, I skied solo. I so loved to ski, I didn’t care. Not too much, anyway.

It’s more fun now, with friends. To talk with on the lift. To wait when you have a spill. To praise your turn shape, or point out adjustments that will improve your skiing. And then, to fly down the mountain with.

*
So too with writing. Writing is ultimately solitary, but it doesn’t have to be lonely. Even as we go about our individual lives, I am warmed by the presence of the Scrivas out there.

Have a writing date with a writer buddy. Form a critique group. Have writing days together, or even retreats (learn from ours). Join a writers’ list-serv, and meet others at conferences. Then stay in touch with like-minded friends.

THE WHOLE MOUNTAIN WAITS TO BE EXPLORED
Once comfortable on groomed runs, it’s fun to go off piste. To learn of runs without posted names, like the Tunnel of Love and Crybaby. (Hi, Sasha! : )

To ski through the trees (though, hugely important, avoid tree wells! and ski with a friend). To catch air in the parks.

The whole mountain is yours: Explore it. Learn it. Love it.

*
So too in writing. There are different genres, or age levels to write for. That’s one of the things I love about our critique group: though we all write for young readers, we write everything. Not just picture books, or novels. Not just fiction, or non-fiction. Graphic novels, books about how to write… Everything.

IT’S ONLY HARD TILL YOU START
The other week, not needed at Meadows’ instructor line-up, I was released for the day. It was raining on the mountain, so I thought I’d go have a rare Saturday at home. But the friend I was catching a ride with, also released for the day, first wanted to take a couple of runs despite the rain. After all, he’d driven all the way up the mountain…

“Alright, I’ll join you,” I said. And we couldn’t stop skiing. We left some hours later, during which we worked on our turns at snail speed to figure out the bugs, then caught steeps for the sheer joy of it. In the meantime, the rain stopped and it turned into a bluebird day. I felt so privileged to be up there.

*
Often it’s hard to start writing. Then I get into the story, find flow, and don’t want to stop. It’s only hard till we get past that initial bump.

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
I learned to ski as an adult, after wanting to for years. It took two things for me to finally do so: moving to Portland, with great skiing close enough that it didn’t have to be a rare and expensive destination vacation. And being able to afford it.

*
With writing, there’s no good reasons to wait. It’s practically free: pen and paper worked for Shakespeare, Milton, and a bunch more people you ‘ve heard of, some of them still alive. A computer is nice, but that can mean your old clunker with minimal processing power or one at your local library. You can reserve it in advance for an hour.

Harder yet, like anything worthwhile in life, writing takes time. Yet if we want it badly enough (see the inspiring blog Amber recently referenced), writing time can be found. Look for it, and make a long-desired dream happen. Write.

Blunt Advice If You Want to Be a Writer from Cathy Lamb

by Amber Keyser
Published on: March 14, 2012
Categories: Challenges
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I wish I could carry copies of Cathy Lamb’s post around in my pocket to give out whenever anyone tells me that they’re thinking of writing a book.

Blunt Advice If You Want to Be a Writer

by Cathy Lamb

I go to a lot of book groups/give speeches and I am often asked about advice I would give to people who want to become writers.

Here are a few thoughts, some of them are quite blunt. Blame it on my being up until 430 in the morning two nights ago working so I am feeling particularly edgy.

First off, ask yourself if you REALLY want to be a writer. This is important. If you simply like to write, you like your journals, scribbling out scenes or characters or starting stories and you have some vague and whispy notion that it would be fun to be a published writer some day with a cool writing cottage on an island, you will – and yes, scream at me now –  probably never publish.

Why?  Because you have to work hard to be a published writer. You always have to work hard and the competition is unbelievably stiff.  Agents and publishing houses are buried in manuscripts. Buried. Many feet high. And there are many talented writers who are in the midst of that stack.

Even published writers lose contracts every single day. You have to come up with something new that publishers believe will sell. It’s a business and they need to make money off your work or they have no business.

Dig deep. Are you willing and able at this time to work hard? Are you willing to sweat this whole thing out? Are you truly willing to commit?

Do you want to be a writer more than you, professionally, want to be anything else? Will you feel unfufilled and unsuccessful if you don’t become a writer? If yes, then carry on. If no…well, I think you have some more thinking to do about your plans. “Wanting to be a writer,” and “working to be a writer,” are two totally different things. There is nothing wrong with writing all the time for pleasure, for laughter, as a creative outlet, and for self growth.  Nothing. It’s a gift, in fact.

I personally would rather lose my left leg than not be a writer. I have felt like that since I was sixteen years old. That’s how bad I have always wanted to write. I lived off 6 – 6.5 hours of sleep for many, many years. In fact, it’s really only since the END of 2011 that I have started sleeping more like a normal person on a regular basis. I wrote late, late at night, that’s when I had the time.

If you believe you want to be a writer more than anything but you use the excuse, “I don’t have time to write,” you are essentially saying that you don’t want to become a writer that bad. And that’s perfectly fine. I’m not critcizing it. I’m simply saying that that excuse doesn’t work.

Read the rest here.  (Trust me: read the rest!)

Finding A Room of My Own

by Michelle McCann
Published on: March 7, 2012
Comments: 1 Comment

For months I’ve been struggling to find time to write in my working-mom-juggling life. I’ve tried writing at home, but there are too many interruptions and distractions. I’ve tried writing at a coffee shop, but I feel guilty if I stay more than a couple hours, which is about how long it takes my brain to get moving.

I have been intrigued by the strategy of fellow Scriva, Liz, who also has kids and a busy work-at-home life. She has a full writing day once a week, away from home. She begins her writing day with exercise (to clear her head and get into the writing mindset), then she walks to the library and writes on her laptop—undisturbed by phone calls, emails, children, husband—for eight hours!

Doesn’t that sound glorious!?!

Well it did to me, so I thought I should give it a try and see what happens. But I had a number of challenges to solve: what to do with my kids and where to do my writing.

First, I found a Boys and Girls Club in our neighborhood and discovered that for $5 a year my kids can take the bus from school to their facility. There they do their homework, play in the gym, read, whatever until my husband picks them up. My clearly sheltered kids were a bit horrified by this option when we took our tour (“Mom, it’s so loud and crazy!”), but they’re on week three now and so far they haven’t been stabbed or gotten lice. I keep reminding myself, “It’s good for them!”

Second challenge—where to write. Lucky Liz lives close to the downtown library with its wonderfully quiet Writer’s Room, so she can walk there and doesn’t have to pay for parking. Not an option for me, so I found a library close by that has street parking and plenty of tables to write at.

Challenges solved, I packed up my laptop and some snacks, and I headed off to write. My plan? To sit, butt-in-chair, and put words on the screen from noon (when they opened) until 8pm. The first trip was a learning experience. Here’s what I learned:

  1. Be thoughtful about your snacks. Within a few hours I craved something besides the gorp I’d brought, which of course distracted me, so I had to waste time walking to a store for new snacks.
  2. Don’t forget the coffee. After I drank the cup I’d come with, it was pretty much all I could think about. Yet another reason to stop writing—must go buy cups of coffee.
  3. Bring an iPod. While there were plenty of tables to sit at, none were empty. I was always sharing space with someone who was either watching TV on their laptop (why come to the library for that?) or playing a videogame. I was easily distracted by the soccer game or sitcom next door.
  4. Think about your butt. Those chairs at the library are unpadded. After a couple hours my butt cheeks were numb. Another excuse to get up and browse the library shelves instead of writing.

Yet even with the distractions, I was amazed at how much writing I got done in eight hours. The next week I went back armed with a grocery bag of snacks, thermos of coffee, butt pillow and iPod mix. Lo and behold, I got even more writing done.

It’s working!

And even though my kids grumble a bit about the two hours they spend at the Boys & Girls Club on Wednesdays, when I mentioned a new editing project I’ll be starting soon, they asked in worried tones, “You won’t have to work on Wednesdays, will you? How will you get your writing done?”

So if you, too, are having difficulty making the time and space to write, why not give it a try? Just don’t forget your butt pillow!

Scriva Amber to speak at the Write to Publish conference sponsored by Ooligan Press

by Amber Keyser
Published on: March 5, 2012
Categories: Events
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Tales of Revision: Helpful Tips from THE INTERN

by Melissa Dalton
Published on: March 4, 2012
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I love THE INTERN.

THE INTERN is a blog that started in 2009. It is written by just whom the title implies, an anonymous intern at a big, unnamed, publishing house. (Though recently, THE INTERN unveiled herself because she signed a book deal for a YA novel. Congrats to her!) THE INTERN’s blog is hilarious, provides astute insights into the workings of the publishing industry, and often offers spot-on writing advice. Careful, though. She’s an addictive read. The only downside to reading the blog, as far as I can see, is that if I read too many posts in a row, I start narrating everything I’m doing in the third person, much like the snarky voice of her blog. And that’s just odd.

So, I am just beginning revisions of the “sh*tty first draft” of my realistic teen novel. I am about 20,000 words in and it’s…not going well. I have arrived at two chapters that I find to be, quite simply, a snoozefest. And if I’m bored writing them, what’s that going to be like for someone reading them?

But I think, I think that these chapters are necessary because they provide pertinent background information/context for the reader to better understand my main character. I know the Scrivas will tell me for sure if I need them. But in the meantime, I wondered if perhaps I could step back from the chapters and look at them a little differently.

That’s when I remembered this post from the intern. It breaks down the “formula” for the addictive prose that is The Hunger Games. (Or so I hear — I actually haven’t read it yet!) THE INTERN highlights a chapter of The Hunger Games in different colors. Each color corresponds to a certain category:

* LIGHT BLUE: Action/Description

* PINK: Dialogue

* DARK BLUE: Internal Conflict

* RED: External Conflict

* DARK GREEN: An action or decision that the character must make stemming from the internal OR external conflict

* GREY: Internal narrative: “telling,” memories, reactions

Now, I had heard of revising a text in different colors and having each color correspond to each sense (sight, smell, hear, taste, touch). And that seems like a good idea, perhaps further down the road when you are finessing things more and other things, like the plot, are solid. But this model just seemed to make wicked good sense to me. And INTERN’s conclusions after she finished highlighting the text are fascinating.

When I started to look at my own sleep-inducing chapters according to this paradigm, one thing popped out immediately: Too much grey and not enough dark green! Too much telling the character’s reactions and not enough decision making!! Could that be why I’m so bored writing and reading this???

Well, duh. Now it seems obvious. But it is hard to know these things when you’re so close to the text.

So now, I have to go back to these chapters and ask even bigger questions: What is my main character discovering here? What decisions does my main character need to make based on these discoveries? How does this contribute to either her internal/external conflict or both?

Whew. These are big questions begging answers that aren’t immediately apparent.

Hmm, that about sums up the revision process right now.

Thanks, INTERN!

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