Coming up with an idea, something I needed to write about, that wasn’t hard. In fact, I easily produced at least five pretty quality topics I could have used. Even then, collecting story seeds around my idea wasn’t hard either. For a few of my topics, I had well over ten pages of writing. But then I had to name the issue, or the common theme throughout the seeds that I would be able to weave into my memoir.
It was in this process of searching and reflecting that I realized this was a project where I could face hard things head on or choose something easy and go through the motions (much like the book report I did on Rachel Carson every year throughout elementary, middle, and high school). But, you don’t travel from PA to New York, pay to go to Columbia, and fork over NYC rent to write a piece that tells you the something you already knew.
Now I’m going to take a second and pause, I’m not sharing my final piece with you. I don’t want to get your hopes up with all this reflecting and then have you be disappointed in the end. I’ve already shared the piece out as far as it goes, which pretty much means the people in my class, and Jess (my writing partner from home), oh and little baby Siena & her awesome momma Michele because they were there for one of the torturous revision sessions I put myself through. Sometimes we (our students too) need to write and not share it with the world. For me the topic I ended up picking is a little too raw to share with everyone, at points it felt too raw for me. So, while I wish I could share some amazing piece with you, know this—I tackled hard stuff, I grew.
Okay back to the process. Once I found the topic that I needed to write about, I asked myself the hard questions, I boxed out the parts of the stories that revealed what I was trying to say. We began to study mentor texts, to see how other authors had done the same thing that we were trying to do.
At this point I began to use a few tricks that we were seeing in mentor texts.
- Reflection- using questioning within the text
- All the time- this is how it always would go; he would or she would always
- One time- but this one day
- Symbols & Metaphor
And because I am a classic version of the overachiever, I used all of them.
Even just typing this out, I am amazed at the process, and how much thinking I was forced to do. Somewhere in the middle of all this, we revised for structure. We had been doing a lot of up close looking at the text and working within reflection for so long that I had almost forgotten to pull myself away and analyze the story structure.
The story structure thing, it was pretty huge for me, so I’m going to stop here and save that for its own blog. It deserves it.
To be continued . . .