Leo's Angel Oak Tree

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Writing Tests

Okay, so my students will be taking their state writing test on Wednesday, and we have been practicing and practicing. Everything from leads, endings, good word choice, and show don't tell techniques have been taught and perfected. But, here is my beef with this test. The state expects our young writers to plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish a final copy in one day. Actually less than one day because they have to take a multiple choice revising and editing section. Isn't this absurd.

As a writer, I am flabbergasted to know that this is the expectation. I don't know any writer who does all of it in one day. Edits alone take weeks.

I absolutely understand that it is only a two page composition, but I believe it sends the wrong message about living the writerly life. We should be teaching our writers to love the process of writing the experiences of their lives, to create stories that will inspire, and respect the process of revision.

So, if you are with me...let's do something about it. Post your comments below!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Olympics!

Just watching the Olympics makes me remember that writing takes a lot of practice, just like the sports showcased in the games. No one is perfect right off the bat...you need coaching, patience, and tons of perserverance.

So, here's to all the writers out there looking for their own gold medal!!!

Happy Writing,
Melissa

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The First Five Minutes

Hello! I hope everyone had a great week of writing.

I recently took an online writing course through the Writer's Digest forum titled, "The First Five Minutes", and let me just say that it was enlightening! I learned so much! I wanted to share with my fellow writers a top 5 list of things that will ruin your readers' first five minutes with your manuscript.

#5: Having too much backstory in your first two pages!
#4: Internal Monologues (Don't begin your story in your character's head!)
#3: Opening with a dream (It lets the reader down to know everything they learned was a hoax)
#2: Too little dialogue/Too much dialogue

And the number one mistake to make in the First Five Minutes... (drumroll please!)

#1: Opening with a phone ringing or an alarm blaring!

I know what you all are thinking...There are a lot of published novels that begin this way. You're right. However, according to the editors giving the course, these techniques are so overdone that it doesn't give your manuscript that original feeling.

So, here is the gist: Open dynamically, not statically!

Open with action, establish the main character with tight details, have your main character interacting with someone else with just the right amount of dialogue.

Remember, the first five pages of your manuscript should move the reader forward!

Hope you learned something...

Now, go write!

Melissa

Query Critique Contest!!!

Ok...Do you have your query done? How about your manuscript? Then, you should enter the PAY IT FORWARD QUERY CRITIQUE CONTEST!

Visit Elana Johnson's Blog for more details:

www.elanajohnson.blogspot.com

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Welcome to The Guardian Writer!!!

Welcome fellow writers...

This is the inaugural blog posting here at the Guardian Writer, and I wanted to take the time to say that I am looking forward to sharing my experiences with you all. I hope that we can learn from each other and inspire some great stories.

I started writing seriously in May 2009 when I awoke from a hard sleep with this unbelievable and constant dialogue going around and around in my thoughts. I couldn't get this guy and gal to shut up!

I laboriously and begrudgingly got out of my warm bed and ran to my computer to type what they were screaming in my head. They were arguing with each other...naturally. It was all rather annoying. I know those of you who are not writers must think I am crazy, but the other writers here know what it is like to have characters bombarding your thoughts.

Well, they continued to talk to me until I finished a novel length manuscript in October 2009. It was exhilarating and difficult, but it sparked a new fire in my life. I had several people read it with the knowledge that it would never see the light of day. Needless to say, the all LOVED it, and have urged me to seek publication. And I feel I owe it to my characters, Leo and Grace, to get their story out.

So, this blog is intended to chronicle what I have learned and put into practice in my journey to be published. I plan to blog at least once a week. I hope that this blog will be something you look forward to reading each week. I welcome comments, as long as they are considerate and constructive to the writing process for everyone.

I look forward to this journey and hope that it will be rewarding for us all!

Happy Writing,
Melissa