In my role as and Educational ASL Interpreter, my students have learned that I make a darned good tutor when it comes to their English papers. And a frustrating one as well. What causes this particular set of feelings is the way that I tutor them. Word by word, without ever telling them what to say, I pick apart their sentences until each one is grammatically correct. Once one sentence is correct, I send them off to fix the rest of the paragraph on their own. I can totally understand their frustration. It was the same method that my favorite (and most hated) interpreting teacher used. I know that frustration well, and I know the results.
We did it. We survived another year and have made it to this (rather arbitrary) day we call the first day of the new year. Really any day would have done for it, so long as we all agree that it’s the first day. So there you have it, we’ve agreed that it’s a new year. We’ve also agreed to call this year 2013. We’re off to a good start.
There has been an undercurrent of classism in the news lately. Here in America with the Fiscal Cliff looming over us, we are arguing about who should pay for the budget deficit. There is a great divide between the “Haves” and the “Have Nots”. Current slang has them as the 1% and the 99% – At least according to the people who call themselves “the 99%”. The thing is that this sort of divide has been around since before we kept records of such things. It is a part of every culture in all the nations that we know about (I would guess that it’s even in the cultures we don’t know about yet, but who can tell with aliens). Despite the fact that it is an omni-present facet of our existence, politicians and social reformers all over the globe have tried to eliminate it.
There are three really tough parts to any writing project.
– The beginning
– The middle
– The end
As we have seen, there are land mines in every step of the writing process. Monday and Wednesday we covered the beginning and the middle. Today we will go over the end, but let me caution you. I’ve only covered the parts of the process where the initial writing takes place. Once the story is written, there is the editing process to contend with. But that’s a topic for another week. First we have to contend with the end.
One of the great myths of the creative arts is that of inspiration. How many starving artists are out there waiting for inspiration to start their next project? Too many. Really, if you want to be a not-starving artist, you can’t just wait for inspiration to find you. You are going to have to go out and find inspiration, or learn to work without it. I recommend the former.
One of the rules of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – just in case some of you missed it) is that you aren’t supposed to edit as you go. If you just sort of make it up as you go the way that I do, you frequently run into a moment when you realize something about your plot that you need to go back and add so it doesn’t come off as cheesy. For example in my NaNoNovel this year, I’m about 3/4 of the way through the plot and all of sudden I noticed that the side effect of being a telepath is that you can hear when the gods are influencing people’s thoughts. Yeah, the character has been a telepath from the beginning so there should have been some hint of that before now. Maybe, just maybe, I was brilliant enough to hint at it without noticing. Not likely which means I’ll have to go back and add it in. But that’s editing and you aren’t supposed to do that. Aaaack, what’s a writer to do?
The holy grail of writing is having readers who get lost in your story. When your beta readers forget to make comments, that’s a good thing. Really it is. Most writing advice is about how to achieve that wondrous state with great words and perfect sentences. They tell you things like – don’t use cliches or adverbs, they throw your readers out of the story. Be careful about the slang you use, modern slang will throw your readers if your story isn’t set in modern times. Even names have to be right because a mismatched name will throw your readers.