Monthly Archives: June 2012

Hmmm….

Well apparently my goal to write a little bit every day is not working. Here’s what I’ve accomplished:

Writing done today:

ZERO! (so far. but it’s likely to stay that way…)

Writing stuff done today:

– bookmarked a couple of helpful blog posts with writing prompts and tips (to help with creating character/setting/etc)

– picked up “On Writing” by Stephen King, and put some other writing books on reserve at the library. Hopefully they’ll come in soon!

– lunch with a friend where we talked about some ideas and put some things together

Still to do today:

– contemplate/put together playlist for each WIP

So not really enough of anything, but at least it’s SOMETHING! Hoping to do a little of something every day.

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Teachers Write! 6/11 Mini-Lesson Monday

Assignment for this week:

If you already have a work in progress draft, create an outline from the text. Look for gaps and bulges in the outline. Think about (and jot down) how you can smooth and balance those problem areas in the next draft.

keeping this one private…. but i’ll do the monday morning warm-up from Jo Knowles

Think of someone you love or have loved (or detested, that can be fun too!) and make a list poem like the one above, describing all of the traits that made that person special, unique, memorable, frightening (you get the picture). Try to avoid clichés. Instead, give us specific tidbits that show how the person’s eyes sparkled rather than say they did–don’t fail at it like me! 🙂 Once you have your list, circle your favorites. Think about why you like those the best. Now try to use similar ones to describe the characters in your works in progress.

Hmm… again, I’m keeping this one to myself. Not because I don’t like my writing on it but because this is an unblocked blog and I don’t want the person about whom I’m writing to see it. There’s no need to hurt someone just because he/she so obviously and clearly disgusts me. (okay, that was bitchy and mean. And likely she would never read this at all. It’s not as though she’s anywhere to find out about it. That being said? I do not want her to stumble across it, see my name, and read it. She would recognize herself instantly…. )

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Teachers Write 6/7 – Thursday Quick-Write

yes yes, i know – today is Saturday not Thursday. I have an excellent reason for missing my writing on Thursday (and not making it up on Friday!). Not a happy reason but an excellent reason. That being said? I didn’t want to miss doing any of the exercises for Summer Writing Camp, so here we go!

A student walks into the library/media center at lunchtime.  What is she/he thinking?  Worried about?  Dreading?  Hoping or wishing for? What are the risks/stakes for him/her? Show us in a paragraph or two.

Ellie pushed into the dimly-lit media center, quickly glancing around to ensure that it was, as usual, uninhabited.

Oh thank heavens! Peace!

Even the media specialist seemed to be gone. She generally loved a good conversation with Mrs. T, but she needed some time to think about what she’d seen – why were the butterflies dying? What WERE those things attacking them, anyway? And, if she was being honest with herself, she wasn’t even sure she believed that it was all real. It could totally be a dream. A very realistic, very horrific dream. Didn’t feel that way, though. What it felt like was being transported to another world, plain and simple. So very real.

Ellie snapped out of her reverie and remembered why she was there. Right, information. After a quick check of the online card catalog, she headed over to the shelf with the 500s on it. Butterflies… butterflies… butter… ah! She found a large, detailed book about the creatures and sat cross-legged on the floor right there, not even noticing the cool metal shelves as they dug into her back. Flipping to the index, Ellie ran her finger down the page until she found the listing for predators. As she tried to find the correct page in the book, there was a sudden chill in the air.

The shadows seemed to be moving around her, and her stomach danced in fear. As shapes moved out of the general darkness, it was as though the butterflies from her stomach were taking shape before her eyes. Calling to her. Singing to her. Dancing her into their spell… Ellie felt a wave of panic wash over her as her eyes drifted closed despite her attempt to fight it…

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Teachers Write! 6/5 Tuesday Quick-Write

Tuesday Quick-Write:
Write for two minutes to describe a very specific place.  If you’re just free-writing, it can be a place that you love, or have visited, or a place that frightens you.

The musty smell hits the minute you walk into the room. The smell of barely-cleaned floors and piled up paper, exacerbated by the lack of windows or, indeed, any control over air circulation at all. The door screams at me as it slams open: Oil me! Oil me! Oil me! I haven’t got much time to think about it, though, because suddenly the room is filled with bodies and noise and the air feels as though it is sucked out of the room. I am surrounded by children and by voices, each clamoring to be heard over each other. The desperation to be noticed is palpable in the air, as well as the b.o.-masked-by-Axe that always seems to drift in with the influx of students. The crush of kids sucks the air out of the room, making it almost feel like I will never have enough oxygen, enough space….

When your two minutes are up, stop writing.

Now…if your place is real and you can go there, go there now.  I’ll wait….

If it’s far away, find a picture of it. If it’s not a real place, put yourself there in your mind. Now write for one minute about each of the following:

Everything you SEE – Pay attention to big things and tiny things. Search for concrete details.
Everything you HEAR – Be specific. Don’t just say “a scraping sound.” Say a “high-pitched, raspity-raspity-screeeeeaking noise.”  You can make up words if you want.If you aren’t in the place, try to find a video. Or guess what you might hear.
Everything you SMELL – Especially pay attention to the smells that surprise you. If you’re not in the place, pictures can help you smell. Look carefully…what would that dumpster smell like?
Everything you FEEL – Weather, wind, things that land on you or brush against you. Again – pictures help you imagine if you’re not there, and if it’s not a real place, try imagining images and then assigning sensations from a similar place that might be real (desert, tundra, etc.)
Now, go back and rewrite that descriptive paragraph. Include your best tiny, surprising details, and work on senses other than sight.

[I was trying to be as descriptive as possible right from the start, so I will add to it and then go back and see what I can do about more detail]

The musty smell hits the minute you walk into the room. The smell of barely-cleaned floors and piled up paper, exacerbated by the lack of windows or, indeed, any control over air circulation at all. The door screams at me as it slams open: Oil me! Oil me! Oil me! I haven’t got much time to think about it, though, because suddenly the room is filled with bodies and noise and the air feels as though it is sucked out of the room. I am surrounded by children and by voices, each clamoring to be heard over each other. The desperation to be noticed is palpable in the air, as well as the b.o.-masked-by-Axe that always seems to drift in with the influx of students. The crush of kids sucks the air out of the room, making it almost feel like I will never have enough oxygen, enough space. When the adolescent wall backs off and sits down, I notice the dingy walls, paint chipped from the annual poster hanging and removal. The floor should be white, but the buildup of dirt over the years has given it a gray cast which is speckled with bits of food that the kids smuggled in. The piles of papers and books on every surface make it all look disorganized and yet everything has a place, however messy it may look… though the slide of papers onto the floor shows that perhaps another organizing system is needed. Scattered whispers move around the room as the dry-erase marker screes across the board, the tangy-sour scent of the ink permeating my nose. Alas it is not to last, because some young man or woman has been unable or unwilling to hold in their digestive issues and as rotting carcass scent of teenager-produced junk food farts permeates every corner, we all spend the next 15 minutes trying to breathe shallowly through our mouths. The air – and the smell – sits heavy in the room as the herky rattle-click of the clock counts off the seconds…

[While I realize that this has a little more time elapsing than might have been in the spirit of the assignment, THIS – all of it – is what crosses my mind as I think of my classroom…]

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Teachers Write! 6/4 Mini-Lesson Monday – Making Time

Assignment: Make a writing plan for your summer and for your school year.

Ahhh the making time versus finding time conundrum. There is no time to find in my days during the school year. I wake up 530, shower and dress, cuddle my smallest one (NOT a negotiable item on my to do list!), throw together lunch while the coffee brews and head out the door. I don’t even get coffee or breakfast until I’m sitting at my desk in the morning. I finally have the chance to sit and breathe around 9 or 930, at which point my brain is fried. The majority of school-year writing has taken place during planning periods when there was time. Hence the fact that I’ve written fewer than 100 pages over the course of the last 9 months!

This summer, I will commit to FIND time to write a minimum of 30 minutes every day while the kids are at camp (or while the small one is, at least. I can still write during the majority of the summer while the elder two are home). My hope is to bring the laptop to somewhere OUTSIDE of my home. Be it the tiny balcony outside my living room, Starbucks, or the not-too-distant japanese gardens, I will be writing somewhere other than my couch or kitchen table. Too easy to find other things that need doing if I’m sitting in the main area of my home.

Once the school year has begun, I will commit to writing at least 20 minutes per night once the kids are all tucked in. I WILL stick to that schedule!

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Hello world!

Okay, here’s my first post 🙂

If I keep this open and updated every day, it can help keep me on track (I’m hoping)! I’ll answer each of the daily assignments on here and link to them in the comments of the assignment post….

 

fingers crossed that it works!

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