Monday, March 24, 2008

Holidays, redux - yes, it's Spring!

I'm not a blogger. Certainly not the type that gets obsessive. Of course, maybe instead of blogging it's better to be writing! I'm going to try starting a new thread here: writing about writing. That's because I've just been accepted into the Vermont MFA program for writing in children's literature. This is exciting, but it's also rejuvenating - I still feel like I have so much to learn about writing. I'd like to talk about writing in its elemental forms: starting with character, then voice, plot, pacing, and any other things I can think of.

By the way, my own personal demon is plotting/pacing. This difficulty is one reason I can't wait to get to Vermont. But here, since I feel comfortable with it, I'll start with character.

One of the most valuable workshops I've ever attended was run by the late, great Paula Danziger. She talked about building character and she combined it with her personal passion: scrapbooking. She brought materials to the workshop and we all chose a character and created a scrapbook of that character's life. I have to tell you that my scrapbook, the one I made that day, was dreadful - but then I went home and spent a week creating a new one for my character. It was a blast! I had fun finding the various materials and pictures, and I made a mini-story, with old photos and stickers, and I bound it nicely - and I think it made my character come alive in a completely new way.

For one thing, I wrote the scrapbook as if it was a journal, in first person. For the first time the voice of my character came out with a vengeance. And a couple of the secondary characters, too.

I'll continue this discussion later in the week...

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