Tag Archives: revision

The Perils of Lengthy Memorials

Laura Ayo

My high school creative writing teacher once noted in the margin of an assignment that I had “memorialized a moment” in the story I submitted. I remember being surprised by his comment. I hadn’t intended to memorialize anything; but after I re-read what I had written, I agreed with his assessment. I had, indeed, preserved a memory. And while the piece did that well – I still remember the moment 26 years later – my teacher’s point was that the story did nothing other than serve as a way to never forget what had happened one rainy afternoon at a park. The story wasn’t anything anyone else would want to read because it lacked a plot, character development, conflict and a resolution. Since then, I’ve come a long way with my writing. But, as my critique group helped me realize recently, I apparently still like memorializing moments – even if they are moments experienced by fictional characters I create in my imagination. Continue reading

Practical Prompt 7-5-17

You finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Repeating similar actions or circumstances throughout a story can bolster thematic resonance and give greater significance to the action. However, each iteration should accomplish a different story goal. Try mirroring a particular action that you use in the climax earlier in story.

Practical Prompt 6-28-17

You finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Take a paragraph you’ve written and circle all the adjectives and adverbs. Then, revise the paragraph by finding stronger nouns and verbs whose meanings make modifying words unnecessary. For example, replace “spoke quietly” with “murmured” or “young child” with “toddler.”

An Optimist Learns Objectivity

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

As an optimist, I assume the best about my writing. Of course I’m writing (almost) every day. Of course my manuscript is coming along beautifully. I’ll be finished in a couple of months.

When I completed WriteOwls’ Write by Midnight in February, the most useful tool in the whole month was the daily writing log. And it’s because I’m an optimist.

When I actually recorded my daily writing progress, I could no longer simply assume the best. If I didn’t write one day, that day had a big blank line beside it. And that objective record forced me to be realistic instead of just optimistic about my writing. Continue reading

Practical Prompt 3-29-17

WriteOwls logo 150 blackYou finally have a moment to write, but what to do with your limited time? Here’s a practical prompt to kickstart the story you’re working on right now. The clock is ticking, people. Start writing.

Do you know what’s supposed to happen in the scene you’re working on, but just can’t seem to phrase it? Try writing a rough summary of the scene first—just a couple of paragraphs describing what happens in the scene. It’s okay to “tell” instead of “show” here. Then go back over that summary and flesh out the scene one part at a time. Start with one sentence you can visualize, rewriting it to include description, emotion or whatever else you feel it needs to make it more polished. Then repeat the process with another sentence. With each iteration, the scene will become more complex and shift from telling to showing.