Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Cautionary Tale and A Writing Tip

This morning, up early and working hard, I tipped over a glass near a stack of 
writing notebooks.

 The good news? It was water.
 The bad news? Although they were mostly salvageable, some are unreadable.

I had been meaning to go through these notebooks forever because I was convinced they contained very valuable information. Maybe not!

But I always tell students the importance of keeping notes. 
Next time I will mention the value of keeping notebooks in safe places. Away from liquids.

But the other good news relates to a single page discovered inside the oldest, wettest notebook. Notes from a book I bought after reading it from the library. It may have been the very first book on writing craft I added to my newly created library. 

Lee Wyndham's Writing for Children and Teenagers.
An oldie, yes, but good information and a few used copies are still floating around for sale out there. Also in libraries.  

My book is not readily available so I'm glad I found this note inside a 
waterlogged notebook:

And right now I need to know everything there is to know about making ENDINGS better.

In case you can't read my notes:

1. Can't just think things out
2. Something must happen to the Main Character, a powerful personal experience that shocks, rocks or floors her. Terrific impact.
3. Then have a quiet scene to show the Main Character has changed. The Main Character thinks over her actions.
4. Then a scene where she PROVES she's changed.
5. CONCLUSION: The original character has changed considerably so
Be Brisk. Be Brief. Be Gone.

I'm off to re-create my ending! Thanks, Lee Wyndham.


sophiesmom said...

I am pretty sure I owned this book. I've given it away and other books from my writer's library as well, thinking it too outdated after all this time. Note to self: Good advice is never outdated. Sorry for the spillage, but useful for your blog. :-)

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Be Brisk, Be Brief, Be Gone!

Say that 3 times fast!

I am sorry about the notes, Augusta!

Lisa J. Michaels said...

Hi Augusta! Totally off topic here, but I wanted to send you BIG congrats for "Glory Be" making the top twenty mid-grade list for the year, on!

It's a wonderful book, and truly deserves it's place among the best books of the year!

Hugs and happiness to you always, Lisa

Lee Stokes Hilton said...

Wow -- I would be devastated at losing my many notebooks, so I will take your advice to heart. I like the advice on endings, tho -- good for writers of all stripes.