Archive for October 7th, 2014

  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

As students become writers, they learn that it can be hard work. In my classes, we have been discussing what makes a good blog post. What are the qualities of good writing? During one of these discussions, Matthew was playing with paperclips, making a paperclip chain. He then started talking about how the chain related to staying on topic in a Slice of Life story. I stopped him and said, “Could I video you saying that?” Here he is:

Kylon has been posting chapters each week of his story, “Something in the Mist.” He posted it over the summer, but since few students were reading, I encouraged him to post once school started. He told me that when he posts new chapters, he revises. He also told me that he printed the whole story out and found that it needed a lot of editing. My response was a laugh because, if you write at all, you know this. I did not prompt Kylon to write about writing, but I am so glad he did. His advice is wise and comes from hard work.

Let me start by saying, “It was pretty hard to write Something in the Mist.” I started writing in March, and finished on one of the last days of school. One of the hardest things about writing it was writing the dates and times. I had to go to the last chapter, calculate about how much time since the beginning of the last chapter, and put it down at the beginning of the new chapter. I also have to think about what would be going on at that time. I wouldn’t be eating lunch at 3:45 PM. I wouldn’t be at home at noon on a weekday. I tried to make the setting as realistic as possible. (SPOILER: When the settings are constantly changing towards the end of the story, it’s really hard to write.)

Another hard thing about writing: making sense. Your character can’t be getting out of bed, and 20 seconds later, he’s running from the police with a weapon and a thousand dollars in his pocket. I know it’s a bit of exaggeration, but it’s true. When I started recording the explosions earlier in the story, my iPod had to be in the car, still recording, after the action.

Next, you don’t want your reader to be falling asleep. You need to keep the action, but not too much action. Example: don’t blow up a building, get hit by a car, run from the police, and steal a car in one chapter. That’s TOO much action.

Also, add extra detail. Don’t say, ‘The car blew up and I covered my head.’ Instead, say, ‘I dived for cover just as the car erupted into a violent fireball. Glass and metal rained down, and I put my hands over my head.’ That’s cool.

One more thing: Writing a long story. Something in the Mist has 6,713 words. That’s a long story!

–Kylon (aka Twinfish)
To read Something in the Mist, click here.

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