Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Slice of Life-Taking My Own Advice

On Tuesdays, the writing community at Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Everyone is welcome to join in by writing, commenting, or just reading slices from around the world!

With the encouragement of my writing group and my family, I paid for a professional critique on the middle grade manuscript I have been working on over the last year. The expertise and critique exceeded my expectations,--if anyone is looking to pay for editorial services, I have an amazing recommendation to give--but it left me with a LOT of rethinking and reworking and rewriting. 

Over the last few weeks, I have been working with students as they have been generating, planning, and writing narrative pieces. One of the strategies I have taught several students involves using sticky notes to plan. This morning I decided to take my own advice and I began to plot out the chapters with purple sticky notes. 

 As I got going, I had to go find some different colors because I wanted to capture what I was figuring out about each main character. The yellow sticky notes are my realizations about my characters. I have to be honest--a couple realizations surprised me, and they will definitely help to create tension in the story.

I think my favorite set of sticky notes are the green ones, and they are my "somebody wanted but so" notes. One of the comments from the editor was that I needed to be very clear in my own head about the main plot and the sub-plots. Therefore, I wrote out each of the secondary plots on a note.

Have I mentioned in this post how much I depend on sticky notes? Maybe my take-away from this process should be starting with a board full of different colored notes before heading to the keyboard!


  1. Great process post. I really appreciate process more than product because I learn so much more. When I read something amazing, I am blown over by someone but when I see their process I become like them. Does that make sense. I just shared this post with a friend who is struggling her her own novel. Thanks for sharing because we need to know that perfect writing doesn't just appear.

  2. What lessons you have learned in this process! Perhaps you wouldn't have gotten to the sticky notes until you wrote the manuscript? Who knows. The process, as Kimberley says, fascinating. Thanks for sharing with us Melanie.

  3. Wow, Melanie, this is terrific, for you, and thanks for sharing the ideas, too. I used to have my students fold big sheets of art paper into squares in order to plot out their stories, but sticky notes are so much better because they can be moved, and one can make space for more, too.

  4. Love! Love! Love this so much!!! I'm so glad the feedback was so helpful. I'm way to intimidated to ever start writing fiction. Congrats on your writing and thank you so much for sharing your process!

  5. I can't wait to start reading your re-writes. You have such courage and perseverance. Go girl!