Thursday, September 3, 2009

How to tell this story?

I'm working on revisions of three very different stories (all in different genres) this week. One great thing about VCFA is it encourages me to explore and try all sorts of writing I might not have tried on my own.

Uma Krishnaswami taught me many things last semester and one thing (of several) that sticks with me is that asking questions is vital to my writing.

I ask myself " What is the best way to tell this story?" when I revise. This question leads me to other questions. Asking questions, even ones that might not be logical on the surface, help me explore the story and learn more about my characters. Questions help me see the story in a different way.

Writing is often a circular path. It involves experimenting, playing with possibilities. The longer I spend with a story, the better I know my characters. Then I can push deeper and learn more about my characters.

There are so many craft elements that effect the way the story will be told. At some point in the revising process I have to think about each choice I made and why I chose to craft that aspect of the story in the way I did.

I am fascinated by the process of writing and revising. I think of it as play. It is fun to play with words and characters and situations.

There are many ways to tell each story. Perhaps there isn't a "best" way to tell a particular story. Each possible approach will create a different effect and in some cases a very different story.

Shelley Tanaka wanted me to do a variety of things as I revised this month. She also wanted me to think about what is perhaps the most important question of all: "What do I love about this story?"

3 comments:

Angela said...

I love reading about your writing and the process, I'm rewriting my YA at the moment and it feels so much like another story - I keep second guessing myself - but it is really just a different way to tell it.

Shari said...

How great to challenge yourself this way. Both specific questions you mentioned - what's the best way to tell the story, and what do I love about this story - have got me thinking what my own answers are to these questions (I'm kinda stuck in the middle of my WIP right now, so I need to ask some hard questions!).

Sarah Blake Johnson said...

Angela--rewriting can often (and sometimes is) telling a different story.

Shari--good luck with your WIP.