Part 1 – Update on Taking a Writing Class
I wrote a post about taking a writing class back in June. Here’s the link: http://www.rindabeach.com/blog/taking-a-writing-class
It started with this illustration and these words: This is the main character from a story I’ve worked on since 2011. Her name, Poppy Minor . . .
That was June 13th. I was finishing chapters 13 & 14, and I was 44 days into my class. I was still hoping to finish all 30 chapters, by the middle of July. I said I’d update you back on June 13th, and here it is . . .
I sent in Chapters 13 & 14 on June 18. Chapters 19 & 20 went in July 7.
I sent in Chapters 15 & 16 on June 28. Chapters 21 & 22 went in July 20.
I sent in Chapters 17 & 18 on July 2. Chapters 23 & 24 went in on July 29.
It took me about 7 days to edit and submit two chapters. Then I fell off a cliff!
I sent in Chapter 25 & 26 on September 12. It took me 45 days to get them done.
Chapter 25 only took 3 or 4 days. Chapter 26 took the rest. I knew it would be more than a week, but I never ever would have guessed 40. That’s Biblical! Like Noah and that ark, 40 days and 40 nights!
Left: Chapters 27 & 28 The final Chapters 29 & 30
Will it take me 90 days to finish 4 chapters? It could even be 30- 40 days a chapter. I hope not! I’d love to finish before Christmas!
Part 2 – How & Why I Got Stuck
Poor Poppy! She was stuck in her story like this ant is trapped in amber. I hadn’t written or edited Chapter 26 in 5 years. The good news – I grew as a writer during that time. The bad – the words in Chapter 26 were trapped in time.
The other 25 chapters grew with me. I learned to add in the 5 senses. Writing what Poppy saw was easy, but the others were harder. Middle grade novels don’t have pictures so words have to show what Poppy was hearing, smelling, feeling, even tasting. That’s how readers become part of the story.
I also learned how to show, then tell. In stories you never say Poppy’s sad. You write . . . Poppy was lost outside. She couldn’t find her way home. She felt hopeless. Showing, then telling helps you bond with a character.
Then I took a writing class in May and June. I worked my way through those first 25 chapters. I learned how to give each character their own personality. I have 6 ants in the story, but each one has to be different. You have to tell them apart, like you do with identical twins.
I added a new character, another bee. He has to be different than the first one, and he has to become part of the plot.
I also built up the middle. It used to be saggy. Now it’s not. I have 2 more chapters till I reach the climax. In a middle grade novel that’s the point where the main character is hopeless. They feel like everything is lost, that they will never succeed. I must push Poppy to the breaking point. Then in chapters 29 and 30 I can drive her towards a satisfying ending.
I wonder, will chapter 27 and 28 be harder than 26? Will I reach my breaking point?
I think chapter 29 and 30 will be easy, like Sunday morning. At least that’s what Lionel Richie used to sing about.
PS – I’ll do an update to let you know.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!