My online writing camp officially starts tomorrow, but today there are introductions. Here’s what I shared to introduce me:
Good morning, my name is Michelle. I teach sixth graders in northern Virginia. I lurked here in Teachers Write last year and this year my goal is to participate. There are lots of stories floating around in my head, so my goal is to pick one and write it. Writing creative non-fiction (poetry, memoir pieces) is much more comfortable for me, so I’m jumping in and trying fiction. Thank you for this supportive community! Writing goal for week: work in some revisions from Friday feedback. Writing goal for summer: find my story!
Oh and from Friday feedback, I received some amazing feedback. Here are some of the positive things people (teachers and authors) said about my writing:
What I like and works is the mood you set right away. I’m not even sure how you do it so well, but I really feel the particular energy of the scene – a mix of sleepy and nerves, excited energy, something new about to happen.
I’m very hooked with your story opening.
I love books about this sort of “super power,” especially in terms of a school, so I’m hooked.
I’m intrigued! This starts like a contemporary piece, but does this teacher have some sort of mind-reading capability? Definitely an interesting twist!
…the quiet moment before school would be much needed! That is usually how I start my day, and I can’t read my fourth graders’ minds – thank goodness!
I can’t wait to hear more about Jack and his teacher (wish I could be a mind-reader!).
You know what’s funny? I am just as elated at the suggestions that were made to make it better. I can tell that the readers really read it and thought about how to make it better. I have some decisions I need to make about my writing.
I also wonder if she can only read Jack’s mind or all students.
I agree with the idea of playing with POV. I like the idea of showing both sides of this relationship, and I like how they intertwine here, happening in real time, rather than alternating by chapter.
I want to know: is this common, or limited? Can everyone have a power? Does everyone have powers already? Is it all mind-reading, or are there other abilities? Is it a natural talent, or is there some operation? I WANT TO KNOW!
Suggestions: Be careful with verb tense shifting. It starts in present and then changes to past. Also, in interviews I’ve read with literary agents and their first page preferences, they suggest not starting with the weather.
One way to do that might be to really exaggerate it at first in your draft. What I mean is, to add little cue ins for yourself to keep the POV or voice straight, eg. overuse Jack’s name and edit it out later. “Jack did…” this. “Then he did . . .” this. That may help you write the stuff that follows clearly from one consistent POV and then you can edit it out/clean it up later.
They found all of the things that I know I struggle with and they gave me specific suggestions on how to make it better, while leaving it up to me. Whew! I’m exhausted already and camp hasn’t even started. Off to try some of these suggestions. What are you writing this summer?