Class Communications!

So you want to write…..something?

Feb. 2, 2022 by Carol Brennan King

Ready, get set, WRITE!

In our first class of the season yesterday, we went back to basics and talked about how to get set up for a successful writing project.

The first thing we discussed is taking yourself and your writing seriously. I recommend that you set writing times in your calendar or journal. It does not take a long time. Fifteen minutes a day will give you nearly two hours a week. BUT, you don’t have to write daily. Try an hour three times a week. OR, set yourself a page goal: one page a day would get you a book in a year!

The point is, make an appointment to write and keep that appointment with the same respect you would have for an appointment for lunch with someone at a nice restaurant.

I have a writer friend who writes regularly at a Star Bucks. He has written so many books there that when that Star Bucks remodeled, they gave him “his” table.

So choose a place now, a place where you are comfortable enough to write: a desk, a room, a place outside if you live in a warm area, but someplace to go that says to you, “Work here.”

Now that you have a time and place, think about the writing project that you want to do, dream to do, or which has haunted you for a while.

Step 1: write a one-sentence summary of what your book or story is about. Think about it this way: who wants what and what gets in the way of achieving it? Or some variation on that theme. If you are thinking romance: who wants who and why can’t he/she win her? As a mystery: who needs the long-lost letter to prove? and what gets in the way? Fantasy: Why can’t Arora find the key to the castle where her identity/parents/child/ future/past is hidden? You get the idea.

Step 2: Describe the plot of the story you want to tell in no more than five sentences. Think one sentence for the opening set-up. Hunger is driving the Irish to emigrate. Sentences 2, 3, and 4 cover the middle of the story: they close up life in Ireland, endure a steerage class trip across the ocean, and walk across New Jersey and Pennslyvania to their destination. Sentence 5 is the last scene in the book, summarized. REMEMBER: this may change before you finish the book or story, but you now have a path.

Step 3: Determine who is in the story and what are they like. I recommend opening a file or a notebook where you write out who your most important characters are. YOu will have a whole lot more on paper than will show up in your book, but you must have a firm idea of who these people are so you can know what they will or won’t do, what they are capable of doing and are not capable of doing.

What do they look like: describe them from toe to top of their head and include the colors and style?

Where did they live; what is their ethnicity and what kind of homes did they live it? Think class, think atmosphere, think family.

Where did they grow up and go to school(S)?

Step 4: Get your ideas on paper: use sticky notes, three-by-five cards, computer programs, notebooks, but get down what you will ultimately put in order as chapters. Again, be generous with your ideas. You don’t have to use them all as you have written them.

Step 5. Organize! First: understand what you are writing. Is it book or story? What genre is it? Fantasy, fiction, science fiction, historical fiction, nonfiction – self-help, memoir written to be read as helpful, or memoir to be read as entertaining

Take all of those ideas you have written down and order and reorder them to first see your book as a whole. Then you have something to manipulate as the book develops. AND, if you don’t feel like writing today on the subject you saw in chapter 2, you can skip to another chapter and develop it.

Prompts:

To be used if you need one this week, but not required.

  1. Incorporate the following phrases into your piece: In the beginning…..but then….
  2. Describe a doorway that you walked through as a child or young person. Think about why that door was important – what did it open up for you?
  3. Remember a favorite fragrance or odor from your youth. What does it bring back as you think about it? Write.

Happy Writing, and see you soon!

PS. If you want to join us on Zoom, contact the Abington Community Library in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania

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