Sunday, July 14, 2013

Teachers Write Sunday Check-In Week 3

Last week I talked about reading and reading and reading as a great start to writing. By reading we soak in so much about characters and how stories flow together and voice. When it's time to start writing it's easy to not know exactly what to write about. This seems to be as troublesome for adults as for students. I've come to believe that there is a story everywhere if we just open our eyes and stretch our imagination a little bit. I remember reading Our Town by Thornton Wilder in high school...and while I don't remember alllllll that much about the book, I do remember the idea of stopping to take notice of the little things in life that we seem to too often overlook. To me, that's what being a writer is all about. A writer notices the funny, sad, scary moments in life and catches them in time, much like a picture, but with taking that picture with words.

Speaking of pictures, using pictures is a great way to brainstorm ideas. Lots of the prompts over on Kate's blog incorporate some kind of picture to get us started. I also find that just being more conscious of looking for stories means that I'll find stories all around me.
We make a trip to the pool, the park, or the library, and I notice people that we see. What are their stories? Who are they? What have they experienced in their lives? What are they feeling? All of these get my brain started!

We do fun things like go to a crowded wave pool, eat breakfast where there's a griddle embedded into the table so you cook your own pancakes, or take a road trip and I think of all the fun people these places have seen and all the memories that have happened there. What stories would the wave pool, the griddle table, the road have to tell if they could tell me their tales?

And then ridiculous things happen to me and I can't help but think they need to be included in some story somewhere. I turn the wrong way down a one-way street, I open a canister of cinnamon rolls and pop cinnamon all over myself, I try to walk on a recently-rained-on, wobbly balance beam and fall on my face and think these moments could happen to my characters - my poor characters - but these things are funny or sad or humiliating and...real. (Ugh, yes, these things did all happen to me...this summer actually.)

Take time to notice people, places, and happenings in your everyday life and jot them down so you can gather your ideas. Or maybe something you notice will turn into a longer piece. You never know where you will find a story or a story will find you if you just open your eyes!

My Teachers Write Weekly Recap:
I did some writing this week but I did more thinking than anything actually. I've been working on the beginning of my WIP and I shared a little bit more of it on Friday Feedback. I'm struggling with this character's main problem, I just can't quite figure it out yet. And I think the problem that she has right now makes her younger than I had expected her to be. It all boils down to me rethinking my novel yet again and wondering how I want to go forward...and I find it terribly hard to write when I'm not sure what's going on in general but then again, maybe that's where I'll solve some of these problems! I have one more week of the summer online courses I'm taking and then I hope I can get more serious about this WIP. For this week, I'm going to make time to write every sing day. I'm going for at least 30 minutes a day. I think if I get some words in, I'll figure out what's going on with this character...maybe...I hope!

A reminder of my rules for Teachers Write Sunday Check-Ins:
1. We respect each other and the type of writing we do.
2. We only offer constructive criticism.
3. We are positive and encourage each other at all times.
4. We recognize and maintain this as a safe environment.
**I reserve every right to put the smackdown
on anyone who messes with our positive energy.**

Today, in the comments section:
Where do you find your inspiration?
How did you do this week? Did you meet your weekly goal(s)?
What was the pit of your week? (The hardest part, the non-fun part?)
What was the peak of your week? (The best part, the most-fun part?)
What are you looking forward to and planning for the week ahead?

And a big shout-out to Teachers Write friends from Nerdcamp in Battle Creek last week! I hope you are enjoying the Teachers Write fun! 

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