"Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's
My small group meeting was absolutely wonderful! What excellent writing! It was enlightening to hear such a variety of writing forms (poetry, personal essay, opinion piece, and short story) and then discuss them and analyze them with other writers. I love PW! For those of you not in a small writing group--you should get one. It is just as (if not more so) helpful to hear other people's writing as it is to have them discuss my writing. I learn so much about the craft of writing.
Which, by the way, reminds me that I have got to tell you about this book called Immediate Fiction by Jerry Cleaver. Great writing book! He talks about story and what it does for us as human being. Then he gives the example of how Michael Jordan (in some interview or another) talks about how when things are going well, the team just plays basketball. But, when there is a hint of trouble, they immediately fall back on "the plan"--which is certain positions and moves. Jerry Cleaver took that example and talked about how writers need a basic plan so that when things aren't working, they can go back to the basics and gets things working again. That is the writer's craft. Then he proceeds to share the basics--want, obstacle, action, resolution, showing and emotion. That's it--just those six things. What does your character want? (and it must be something that if the character doesn't get, he/she will not go on unchanged) What is preventing him/her from getting that want met? What does he/she do about it? (action) and how is it resolved? You must Show this (real-time) rather than just tell us about it. And you need to expose the emotion of the characters--so that the readers can identify with the character and therefore with themselves.
Granted, this may all be stuff you have heard before. For me, it was said (well, the book said it in such a way--not me) in such as way that I really GOT it. I mean, I know what plot is--sorta. I get the arc of beginning, rising action, climax, falling action.... But this put it in a much more accessible way (in my opinion).
Anyway, if you are looking for a writing book that gives very concrete (and not overwhelming or too strict and narrow) ways of making your writing better--give Immediate Fiction a try.
Speaking of which--only 51 more days!