Reflection, Week #3

I am losing steam in Teachers Write–that’s not exactly the metaphor. I’m spending a good deal of my days this month reading and writing–some of it blog posts, but writing and reading, nonetheless.

However, I’m realizing all I don’t know about perspective, point of view, and constructing a plot. It’s humbling and hard, but I’m glad because everything I learn will just make me a better teacher.

On today’s reflection Jen gave some great helps for leading children in a free write. Check out today’s reflection post on her blog: Teach Mentor Texts.

Peak – I added an undeveloped part of my story to the Friday Feedback post and got some lovely, though difficult, feedback from three authors.  My before and after are not that different, but slowly I’m figuring some things out.

Pit – I didn’t add any significant scenes or character development to my story.

Goal – I want to go out strong this last week of Teachers Write, so I need to just write–at least 3000 words. I want to keep practicing point of view and perspective. I think I might switch to first person narrative of the main characters–maybe three different characters each in a new chapter (ala Wonder). It seems to me that would be easier than third person narrator voice. I don’t know if that’s true, though! Also, I don’t know if it’s a cop out. Should I just do my best writing third person and try to tell it in third person from the perspective of a certain character??? Really, I have no hope for publishing this. At my stage in fiction writing, I am just trying to get a story I can use with my students on some level and better be able to help them write fiction.

Reflection, Week 2

I love the cartonera project Jennifer Laffin writes about at today’s reflection post at Jen Vincent‘s Teach Mentor Text blog. I will definitely bring it to my colleagues in Bahrain. In June I pulled off a last minute author’s day just with my grade 5 students who had written novels this year. However, every minute of the experience, I knew we had to do something bigger and broader next year. This may be it. Thank you again to Jennifer for the inspiration.

Here’s how I did this week regarding my goals: I wrote 3000/4000 words. One thing I did that was not a stated goal was to tackle the first step in developing my characters and scenes. I organized what I had written so far into a sort of outline. I made a table of contents of probable chapters and I just cut and pasted all the short scenes I have been writing into the proper chapters. That helped me know where to start writing.

The pit of the week was I skipped half the days of writing. Sad!

The peak was Mike Jung’s comment on my short snippet I left on his quick write assignment this week. He asked me a lot of questions that I didn’t know the answers to. It reminded me that I have to get out of my head and onto the paper who these characters are and what they are doing. Another peak is I ordered Mike’s book Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities.

Those questions Mike asked lead me to my goal for this week, which will be the same as last week. A few thousand words developing characters and scenes and answering Mike’s and others’ questions. I need to stop writing random 3 paragraph passages and do the work of writing whole chapters for this very rough first draft.