Tag Archives: young writers studio

The Art of Revision, Final Post for “A Week to Remember” Series

KatherineWaiting for my Revision post, weren’t you? Sometimes, it pays to let our work sit a bit before we begin the process of rereading it with a critical eye.

Since the Young Writers’ Summer Studio was only a week long, we had  only  a day to let our Fiction stories sit and simmer, marinating in their juices.

The final day of our Studio was light and fun to counter the unsettling feeling of sharing our work publicly. Revision is an art, something organic that swells or slumps, depending how often it is practiced. And for most of these students, the sharing circle, or “workshopping” a piece of writing was a new experience.

Before the reading began, I made it perfectly clear that everyone was to listen and look at the author reading (no whispering, writing in their notebooks, or interrupting.) Also, we were each responsible as readers and writers to participate in the discussion of the piece. If we had a comment it should be expressed in a full statement, “That part was cool, because…” or “I didn’t understand WHY the character did…”

circle timeOnce the rules were explained, the stories began. Our circle transformed into a thriving scene of dragons, haunted houses, hidden treasures, trap doors and fairies on a quest. The details were concrete, the characters developed through the conflicts and most conclusions wrapped up all loose ends.

Constructive Criticism was shared. The topic of writing from the point of view of the opposite sex came up. Immediately, this young writer was ready to change her boy character to a girl, but I told her, she was in control of her story. If she had doubts about what a boy would say or do in a situation, just ask a  boy! So, the guys in our circle gave their suggestions.

Another story’s description of packed clothes was delightful and intricate, but did not move the story along. This section could be removed. When asked why parents would leave their child home to go on a business trip the night they moved into a new house, the young writer defended his decision with long explanations. I stopped him and explained to all, if you, the author needs to verbally explain the reason for an occurrence in your story, then you need to work on making that section more clear. Your writing should stand on its own.

After we made our comments, I then asked each author what they liked and disliked about their own pieces. This is important, because some details we’re not crazy about may help in adding depth to the story for the reader.

Unfortunately, time did not allow us to hear everyone’s stories in the circle, so we paired off for one-on-one critiques. I learned to allow much more time for this exercise in the future.

One reading and one draft is by far an unfinished piece of work, but for these young writers, it is a confident step on the path of an author.

hidingI was honored to teach these Young Writers and this will always be a Week to Remember…

Check out the Events Page on WriteLikeCRAZY for more pics and upcoming classes I’m offering!

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Filed under Advice, Fiction, teaching

“There ain’t no free lunches in this country…”

“…And don’t go spending your whole life commiserating that you got the raw deals. You’ve got to say, ‘I think that if I keep working at this and want it bad enough I can have it.’ It’s called perseverance.”

Lee Iacocca, Businessman and Former CEO of Chrysler

Love this quote. I think we all have our moments of the “life’s unfair” attitude. But seriously, how would we know our true passions if we didn’t hit a bump or two (or ten) on our way to success?

Perseverance is the path that we must take to develop and live our true passion.

What struggles or speed bumps are hindering your writing goals today (this week, this month)?

I’ve been feeling a bit overwhelmed in my day job as an Executive Assistant to the Regional V.P. This drags me down, body and mind, for any creative work I had planned for the evening.

I’ve also been procrastinating tedious technical work I need to get done to move forward with my young writers’ summer studio plans for June. And I’ve been putting off a rewrite of an article that should have been finished by now.

Distractions in the form of Facebook, Twitter, Blog surfing & commenting keep me from moving towards my goals, as well. These social medias are excellent tools, when used correctly and in moderation, so as not to take up all of your “working” time.

Perseverance rounds her head again when I sit in my day job cubicle, or in traffic going to or from said job. I know I can’t get different results from doing the same thing. Perseverance is what will blast through those bumps of distraction, overwhelming feelings and procrastination. The innate desire to write and teach full time as a way of replacing my current income  – that big carrot dangling in front of my nose is what will get me through one more day, week or month. To success. To my goal.

But dreaming and wishing and musing is all a bunch of fluff if there is no action behind it.

I learned the other night that just by speaking about my goals of teaching and the local organizations and schools I plan to contact lit a fire under my ass. Talk about it!

I have decided to open my MS Word doc’s ONLY when rewriting or crafting a rough draft of an article. Email and the internet as a whole is too tempting for me if opened in a tab at my bottom toolbar. Set up blinders to focus and blast away distractions!

The technical issue I’m having that is holding back my next steps for my young writers studio is the time to figure out adding a Paypal button to my writelikeCRAZY blog for easier payment of tuitions.My husband, with his knowledge of all things techy, said to ask if I needed help. Well, I asked, I delegated. Get more info to get past the procrastination (or delegate a task you don’t want to do!)

Please share your bumps and how you’ll use perseverance to get over or around them!

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Filed under Advice, emotion, goals, Organization, Perseverance, Platform/Marketing, procrastination, writers block