I'm hard at work on my thesis, detailing how first-year students can generate first drafts. I spent all of yesterday and the day before writing/revising my 8-pg syllabus.
Here's few tips for you writers out there that I'll share in my Prompt-writing workshop Wed. Sept. 27th at the Royal Bean Coffee Shop.
In a Writing Workshop, when your work is getting critiqued:
1) Listen to all comments -- take what you want from the group, but you're the final authority
2) Allow everyone to finish their comments, then feel free to respond
3) Take notes on your copy
When you Critique others:
1) Be respectful and courteous
2) Always begin with a positive
3) Flesh out your answers -- don't just say "I liked it" or "I didn't like the story" Explain what worked and what didn’t work for you
Revision is crucial
You can revise as you go or revise after you complete your draft
Revision helps you find the right word and "look again" at what you've written.
"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug" — Mark Twain
Try to write in 15-minute increments. Have a piece of paper/pen handy in the car, bedroom, computer, kitchen, or bathroom so that when a great story idea hits, you'll be ready!
Start a notebook for freewriting and start a journal for your early drafts of your work
When you revise in fiction watch for:
Structure/flow: Don't take too long to get into the story. Need action early on.
Characterization: do we know the basics of the characters early on? Make the characters unpredictable.
Reveal your characters through their clothing, actions, dialogue, gestures, bodily reactions, values, and possessions (also valuable for creative nonfiction)
Characters must be credible and consistent (Sally Buckner)
Setting: readers need a sense of place to feel grounded
And also check to see if you have a(n):
Ending that resonates with the reader (not one that just stops!)
A plot twist that has some suspense