So…It’s Been A While…

*sweeps dust off blog*

Oh Hi! So, I’m going to beg whoever reads this blog not to look at the huge gaping hole in time between this post and the last one. You know, the one where I swore I was gonna spend more time on this blog? That one?

Right, so I struggle with blogging. I love blogs. I admire people who blog every day. But it’s always been hard for me to prioritize keeping a personal blog over the important things in life, like writing stories and mindlessly staring at Facebook and Twitter. And as you’re guessing by now, my life isn’t super blog-worthy. And that’s OK. I’m cool being low key.

At any rate, I’m working on taking my writing journey to the next level, and as such have started taking a class here in Asheville via the Great Smokies Writing Program. My class focuses on writing for children (in my case, YA) and it’s going great so far. Today I thought a lot about the lessons we went over last night about plot and setting the stakes for your characters, and it got me thinking about how I could actually use this blog.

I want to really retain what I’m learning here, and, being the kinesthetic learner that I am, it helps for me to write it all down. So I’ll be doing some reflections on some of our lessons and how the critique/workshop process works, and who knows, maybe you’ll get something out of it too. (And maybe I’ll throw some fun stuff in here too.) (Or maybe it’ll fall by the proverbial wayside again…it’s all a guessing game, my pretties.)

First, let’s talk about this critiquing thing. I’ve done it, prior to this class, in a couple of college creative writing classes, but I’ve never been particularly awesome at it. For one thing, I tend to focus too much on details as opposed to seeing the whole picture. I tend to want more of something (a scene, dialogue, etc) when, if I looked at the story from more of a bird’s eye view, I’d see that what I want more of might not even be working for the story as a whole. For example, in last night’s workshop, I encouraged a classmate to slow down in one scene and flesh out the descriptions because it seemed like a moment that could be illustrated so well with a few more words. (Confession: I’m big on being able to SEE the setting. Possibly TOO big on it. But that’s a lesson for another blog) Anywho, what I missed in telling my classmate that I wanted more description is that her characters had just embarked on this kick ass adventure and they really should have been in the thick of some action at that moment as opposed to doing this mundane thing that I was pushing her to describe.

It was so OBVIOUS when our teacher/workshop leader pointed it out, and I felt a little embarrassed that I didn’t pick up on it. But, I think it’s those slap-you-in-the-face moments that make a lesson stick. For me, I know now that I need to pull back and see the bigger picture more, not just when I’m critiquing but in my own writing as well.

Assignment Time! If you’re a writer (and even if you’re not) step back for a minute and look at your work from a different angle. Have you been too laser focused on a particular scene or character (for non-writers, sub in relationship or work problem or whatever might be bugging you) to realize that it’s not relevant to your story as a whole? Is it keeping you from moving the plot forward? Well, fix it, dammit!

And how do you go about doing that, exactly???

Simple enough, right?

Happy Writing, y’all!

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