I can see that the “homework” is making our very robust class kind of peter out. So, I wanted to take a moment and let you all know that there is no wrong answer in the homework and it’s more about exercising your writing muscles. You learn what works for you and what you need to learn through those exercises.
Since 2008 when I began SnoValley Writes! I have always contended that you get out of it what you put into it. I try hard to make sure that there’s not more than about two hours of work outside the workshop each week — and I would guess that’s the high end of it.
You want to level up? You need to put in some time. I’ve tried hard to design this learning track for 2017 in a manner that you can learn; but, you can also juggle all that you need to juggle.
As always I’m open to suggestions if you have ideas on how to make the work and lessons more digestible and equitable.
For those who were blocked for other reasons other than desire, there is a download of the worksheet we went over and the homework to bring for the March 18 worksheet attached to this email and included in the body below my signature. However, the worksheet doesn’t include the warm up prompt or the lecture that I gave. You’ll have to do your own cobweb cleaning, which I highly encourage, and do your own research on what makes dialogue good and bad. Give yourself the :90 you would have spent in the workshop doing that, of course.
There you have it. That’s your prompt. Do the worksheet, catch up, do the exercises. Level Up Your Writing.
Now your moment of Writing Zen:
“The only way to learn and hone your craft is by working hard and writing regularly.” ~ Darren Shan
What did you Write today?
Sno Valley Writes!
Helping Writers Reach New Literary Peaks Since 2008
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“But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling, like dew upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.” ~ Lord Byron
February 18, 2017
Workshop – Level Up Your Writing (Class 2)
Continuing the DeConstruction Process — Reading Like a Writer
- Time to clear the cobwebs. Writing warm-up (Casz will provide prompt)
- Discuss last month’s homework. What did you learn? Where did you struggle?
- Reading of step 4?
- Reading of Step 5?
- Put your hand on the book you’re working with all year. Think about the story. Just sit there thinking about it for a minute.
Now think about the dialogue in the story. Dialogue instantly reveals your skill as a writer. Bad dialogue signals the work of an amateur who has failed to grasp the mechanics of speech. Good dialogue illuminates your characters, moves your plot forward, and develops relationships.
- Find some dialogue that really pulls you in, illuminates your characters, moves your plot forward, and develops relationships. The section you find may not do all of these things, but it should do at least one.
- Is there anywhere in the book where the dialogue struggled?
e.g. “I can’t go on,” Mary said tearfully
- “Mary wiped a tear from her cheek. “I’m not sure I can go on,” she said. (body language…description, as well as words)
- Now think about where you struggle with dialogue. How do you become batter at it? Find all the places where it serves no purpose — cut that from your text
e.g. “I saw Mark in the park the other day,” I said.
“How is he,” Mary said. (Unless your purpose is to show how boring and awkward the conversation is between Mark and Mary — cut this out.)
- Homework — 30 Minutes in Public/Student of Conversation:. Go to a coffee shop, a busy bus stop, a bar, a hotel lobby, sit anywhere there are people. Bring a notebook and pen. Just write down everything you hear, see, watch body language, expressions. Actually write down conversations. don’t think, don’t worry about punctuation, just write it all down.
- When you get home or get writing time next, construct a short story from what you wrote down.
- Read it out loud to yourself. Revise quickly (I don’t want you spending hours and hours on this project; it’s just supposed to be an exercise, not a dissertation.)
- Bring your notes from your Conversation Observation and your story to the next workshop March 18.