Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Thlot Pickens . . ..

"If you're rewriting a story, is it okay to to use the same plot, or do you find yourself stuck in the same problems?" One of the teens in yesterday's workshop asked me. I had never heard the question about REVISION phrased in this particular way. Have an outline, fill in differently. See how refreshing Writopia is?

We launched into a discussion about structure vs. plot.

(I had hammered out the plot to EDGES in three months, but it took me three years of rewrites and playing with the structure before getting it into the hands of a publisher.)

"How do I do that? How do I know whether or not the structure is working?" She asked.

"That's what we're all here for!" Learning how to both get and give constructive feedback are two of the main goals of workshopping.

This group is split between teens whose writing tends to be plot driven and those who prefer character driven stories. Since both character and plot inform each other so much, these guys and gals have much to learn from each other this week. I relish being their guide and witness.

I suggested switching her Point of View, see the "plot" from another character's eyes, or to simply change the narrative from third person to first person.

Picasso was known to use canvasses over and over again, switching colors, form, content - he had to "rule out" certain factors first, before getting to the heart of his painting.

This is a helpful reminder for me as well: I have a manuscript about a reality TV show (based on my personal experience) that I'm getting excited to get back to, which I wrote as a double narrative in the third person. Maybe I should be open to switching it to a single narrative in the first person. This may alter the plot, structure and character arcs a great deal, and might work better. Or it might not, but I will learn more about my characters and their stories in the process!


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