Monthly Archives: October 2010

We Are Who We Are

I believe our individual personalities are formed by age five, often earlier. I have every report card from kindergarten to grade eight. The same adjectives were used over and over by teachers to describe me – quiet, diligent, conscientious, neat, well organized, polite, reliable, and consistent. These are still me, as well as some not so flattering ones. In my family, the kids were good in school, bad at home.

Mrs. Hobbs, my grade two teacher wrote, “In her stories, Julie writes good sentences and expresses interesting ideas.” Hope this still applies.

Frankenstein and Mary Shelley

‘My heart was fashioned to be susceptible of love and sympathy, and when wrenched by misery to vice and hatred, it did not endure the violence of the change without torture such as you cannot even imagine.
-Frankenstein, the creature

‘I am sick of myself… My head aches. My heart – my hapless heart – is deluged in bitterness… I strive to survive, I strive to write, but I cannot live without loving and being loved, without sympathy; if this is denied to me, I must die. Would that the hour were come!
-The Journals of Mary Shelley, September 5, 1826

Short Story Process

1ST DRAFT – EXPERIMENTAL
*idea formulating for a month or longer in brain
*longhand scribbling
*1-4 pages
*very crude, little resemblence to final story
*stream of consciousness
*done in quiet place, no distractions
*little dialogue written in
*little to no formatting
*sometimes this draft will sit a long while

2ND DRAFT – HELL
*typed onto computer
*bit more detail, added scenes
*length often doubles
*bit more structure, paragraphs
*choose appropriate P.O.V. and tense
*all drafts printed, revised on paper, then typed to computer

3RD DRAFT – WORSE HELL
*dialogue added
*cutting unimportant characters, scenes
*taking a closer look at structure, time line
*focus on showing, not telling

4TH DRAFT – WORK
*cementing time line
*fleshing out character descriptions
*begin to recognize themes, symbols emerging
*begin to read aloud, see how story and dialogue sound
*removing redundant info, words

5TH DRAFT+ – FUN
*usually 8-12 drafts total when fiinished
*story begins to shrink in length
*strengthening of verbs
*amping themes
*thinking about five senses throughout story
*letting someone read/workshop when close to done
*nitpicking

*process is a neverending process