Sunday, October 16, 2011

a writing dilemma

I thought it would be easy to write a narrative nonfiction book about my small, rural high school's national robotics championship.  "This story will tell itself," I told my critique group.  I wrote and proudly shared chapters with my  crit pals.  They, however, told me that my writing too often sounded like a professor's lecture.  Ouch.  But-but-but. . . They were right.  I fussed and re-wrote.  The writing got better, but still "lacked a clear narrative voice" said Paula Morrow at last summer's OWAIC conference.  *BIG SIGH*  I fussed and re-wrote but although the writing got better, it still did not flow well.  Still, I pressed on.  Must write each day, even when it is work and not fun, I told myself.
     After an amazing week at last summer's SCBWI conference, I returned home energized, needing to write, excited to tell the against-all-odds story.  These kids deserve to have their story told, and told well.  The writing still, too often, was stilted.  After more than one 3 am think session, I got up early one morning - about 5:30 - and started re-writing first person, speaking as the voice of the robot.  It is a technique that Ann Angel advised against, and I likely will have to re-write as the semi-omniscient observer but for now. the writing flows.  It is finally, fun to write this story.  Fred, the robot, can be the feisty, smart mouthed, told-you-so, you-did-not voice of the teens who collectively created the amazing story.   *BIG SIGH*

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