Writing Zazen

Monday, 8 January 2007

30 Ways – Shaping What Comes

Filed under: Writing Zazen - 30 Ways — Shelley-Lynne Domingue @ 7:48 pm

Shaping What Comes from the book “30 Ways to Help You Write” by Fran Weber Shaw, PH.D

Your free-flow writings may become part of a story or essay, so keep them (as is) in your “writings” notebook. You’ll find you’ll accumulate a wealth of personal material which is your own natural resource. One woman, for example, “mined” her notebook and arranged seven short pieces as one “crisis” week in her character’s life. A businessman was able to use a whimsical bit about the Great Pumpkin as the opening anecdote for a speech. So keep writing for the fun of it — without criticizing what comes — and you’ll have something to work with when you need material.
If you’d like to take one or your writings and shape it into a paragraph or short essay, try this:

1. Choose a piece you really like, and read it over.

2. What did you realize from this experience? Sum up your MAIN IMPRESSION in a sentence and say it out loud as if telling a friend.

3. Compare that sentence with the first one already on the page. Which gives your point of view, your slant on this experience? Would a read want to hear more? Use that to lead off. If you don’t like either, ask an intriguing question.

4. Begin a new paragraph each time you bring in another idea, shift gears, or describe something happening suddenly.

5. Cross out in pencil any details or sentences which don’t have anything to do with the main impression you want to convey.

6. End with a sentence you sound sure of. Make your point about what you’ve discovered. Title this piece, and type it up.

If you’d like to begin a story, try this:

1. Name your main character

2. Cast your free-flow writing into the third person (use he or she), and see if it suggests a story. Now it’s your main character that’s sitting, or walking, or thinking about things, or noticing the surroundings.

3. Try to convey a particular mood by the way your character sees what’s around, by what she’s thinking. Cross out sentences which don’t fit. Add others which might suggest what her problem or situation is at this moment.

4. Write just the first page of your story. Rather than plan what you’ll say, let it unfold: just keep writing.

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