Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Slice of LIfe- That Thing We Do Called Writing


Every Tuesday, the writing community of Two Writing Teachers hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants. 


I am working on my MFA through the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College If anyone is interested in low-residency programs, I'd be happy to talk about this experience, as it is truly life-changing in my world not only as a writer, but also as a person. 

While I have many shares and posts to write, one of the most important is not an earth-shattering one, but a critically important one, and that is how much courage writing takes because it is SO frustrating and humbling. Over the first half of the ten-day residency, I percolated the story arc of a novel I've been working on for a few years. Yes, a few years. I have a couple of drafts written, but I know they're not quite right. During that first half of residency, I re-wrote the story arc, first in my notebook and then on stickie notes. I shared it with some of my workshop colleagues, and they liked it. The arc was clear. I could answer their questions. I knew my characters. I could describe my setting. 

And then in workshop, our mentor asked a question that derailed the work I've done. Who has the most compelling story? $*!%&*. The answer is not the character whose point of view is what I've written and planned on revising. Therefore, I have an entire rewrite to do, as who wants to read a book from the perspective of anyone but the one with the most compelling story. 

Sigh. Writing is so humbling. So frustrating. So maddening. And still, we keep going, pressing onward with revisions and rewrites and even re-creations--

At least it's July and it will be August and those are my writing months. Onward. 

Happy Writing,

16 comments:

  1. Hi Melanie,

    Ha! My Slice it about the joys and frustration of writing too! I just finished the first draft of my WIP yesterday. It's taken me three years of thinking and writing to get it. I think I'd cry if I had to change it and make it from the point of view of a different character, but it doesn't mean I wouldn't do it. It sounds like you know the person who asked the question is right, which makes it all the more frustrating. (Gae Polisner has a great post on dealing with feedback with insight from lots of published authors, if you want to peek. I found it interesting. http://ghpolisner.blogspot.ca/2016/07/friday-feedback-bonus-monday-when.html)

    I'd love to hear about the low-residency program and what you're doing. I truly love writing, but being the mother of three children (13, 10 & 8) and teaching full-time it's hard to imagine where I'd find the time. I am working on a free-lance writing certificate from a local college, but slowly, very slowly!

    Good luck with everything & keep writing!

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    1. We should talk--you might be able tow swing low-residency, and I'd be happy to tell some things about it.

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  2. YES, writing is humbling, frustrating, maddening, but it's also freeing - what you write might just change the world!

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  3. YES, writing is humbling, frustrating, maddening, but it's also freeing - what you write might just change the world!

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  4. It is humbling. It is also helpful for teachers to feel what kids feel when we ask them those same questions. I don;t think it makes them feel better to know we've been through to too, but I think it helps them to know we understand.

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  5. I can so relate! I attended a picture book writing workshop in June and did at least a dozen rewrites of a story that has been rolling around in my head for years. Each time I thought - this is it- someone would raise a question and send me back down he path of revision. Good luck to you!

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  6. Having just gone through the exact same thing, I empathize. Writing is not for the week or the lazy, that's for sure. Thank you, though, for putting it out there because when we know all good writers go through this (and you are good), we know we must push through as well.

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  7. Perhaps it will end with 2 POVs. I've read several middle grade novels recently that tell stories from more than one POV. And to answer the "most compelling" lies in the eyes of a POV, too, doesn't it? Good for you for the writing, no matter what!

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  8. That question changes everything! Which of your stories will you be rewriting? (I'm sure you'll lmk on Sunday!)

    What if you did what Linda suggested and wrote different chapters from two different POVs? I think it can work if it's The Giving Key.

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    Replies
    1. Solstice--the fairy one. The rewrite is from the POV of the fairy.

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  9. I was glad to read you will keep persevering and writing is all the things you listed but there is joy. Remember the joy.

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  10. Melanie, your willingness to press onward, rewriting and revising your work is truly inspiring. I know you will make the right choices, and that the end result will be amazing!

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  11. I can see how this question would make you rethink the story, but how frustrating to think about rewrite. I've been there, am there, and feel I'll be there again.

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  12. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on writing. I can so relate and your persistence is inspiring. Keep writing!

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