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You Will Have a Pop Quiz at the End of This Writing Class

I need to apologize for missing my scheduled Monday post. Now, my excuse:

The story I started in June of 2021 has settled into my subconscious and will not relent. And that's a good thing for a writer. So, I spent yesterday morning writing new work and got a little over 1,000 words written before I needed to pull away and work with Bob. And, by the way, Bob loves when I write. His eyes locked on mine while I told him about the new writing.

So, the new writing grew out of editing. I'm editing the larger already-written story which I stopped writing in July of 2022. In July 2022, it was not finished but I sent it off anyway in April of 2023, to Billie, my reader/editor/proofreader. I think I was hoping to kickstart the story into action again. But when she returned it with edits, all I wanted to do was put it in a drawer and let it curdle.

Then, I read the first line of the first paragraph to my writer friend, Terry (see last Friday's post) who challenged me to work on it again. Here's that first line and first paragraph:

Only later did people realize how complicit the raccoons were with the butterflies in the commission of their crime. Once they did, it was too late. By then, everything had changed. The infestation had occurred. People could only gawp in amazement at the devastation. The size of the hole, after all, was nothing they’d ever seen before except perhaps on TV or in some natural science magazine if one took an interest in such things, things like sinkholes, but only then and only in some removed sense. Because, plainly, this was no run of the mill sinkhole. Quite the opposite.

It's a "look back" kind of story. I hint at the inciting event then I go back to a point in time most crucial to the story, then move forward in my storytelling to the point where I started.

The chapter you I included in last Friday's post, occurs quite a bit further into the story. It happens in one of the uphill chapters toward the climax--the biggest event of any story.

Anyway, when I started editing the first chapter, in the process I wrote some new work. That always happens to me when I go back to finish an incomplete story. Initially, I write short. I get an idea down and go back. It's what I call bones-and-brain-first writing. I add the muscle later.

When I go back, my subconscious does the rest. It already has the story locked in, even from years past, and fills in the detail like setting and time. But also theme, meaning and metaphor. Theme is the mood and tenor of the story--light or dark. Meaning asks, "why is this story important?" Important to me but also a larger audience. Metaphor is the underlying hint that ties a truth to an idea. It's definition is:

a thing regarded as representative or symbolic of something else, especially something abstract.

So, now for the pop quiz.

I've given you enough information to answer these four questions which you will find in the first paragraph of the story.

  1. What is the theme of this story?

  2. What is the inciting event--the big thing that happens to thrust the story forward?

  3. Who is/are the main acters in this paragraph--the raccoons or butterflies, or the people gawping in amazement, or any, or all of the above?

  4. What is the metaphor?  You will not find it explicitly but it's there. Think about the actors and what they signify. You will find the answer in character.

You can answer any or all of these questions, or (really) none of them but it would be fun if you did.

Please post your answers in comments below. I can't wait to read what you think. And no one will fail this pop quiz. It's meant for fun. So, have fun.

Oh, and you can find a hint to the metaphor below too...

This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” ~The Gospel According to John, Chapter 3

I love this. It makes me laugh each time I see it.

God bless you all.

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1 comentário

Jo szcz
Jo szcz
24 de abr.

LOL I/we/he/they "just don't get it" LOL😄

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