Monday, October 6, 2014

Welcome to October #wipmadness

My nephew has a short research essay due on Thursday, so I’m walking him through the steps of researching, prewriting, and writing. After reading Number the Stars in class, he decided to do his essay on Anne Frank. Saturday we went to the library and I showed him how to look up information in the encyclopedia. (Or as I explained to him the old school Internet.) We also checked out three books. Tonight we’ll work on organizing the information into three paragraphs: before hiding, hiding, and after hiding. I’m hoping we’ll get the first paragraph done tonight.

Helping my nephew has made me realize how innate the writing process has become to me. Perhaps I even take it for granted at times. Working with him and my other seventh grade student makes me re-examine the writing process: how this step leads to this step and how vital it is to take a few moments to organize your thoughts and even do the dreaded O word: outline.  

I've never liked outlining. But I've learned that it’s a necessity at some point in the writing process, and that the earlier it occurs, the better or/and easier a project becomes. You have to know what you want to write about before you can write about it.

I think I get lost in this step. Trying to figure out what the story is about before writing the story. Wanting my prewriting to look all cool and organized complete with cross referencing. (Yes, I am that anal retentive. I wonder if there’s a club for that?)

My question for you this week is this:

Do you have a tricky spot in the writing process? A place where you get stuck or in a rut?

Any advice on helping a seventh grader write a five-paragraph essay about Anne Frank? (I really thought that the five-paragraph essay was a relic of the past, but I guess not.) Any advice or suggestions about helping seventh-grade boys write would be greatly appreciated.

See you next week. Don’t forget to list your October goals!

My October goal:

Write a working outline for the pilot episode to sitcom idea #2.

Write a working outline for the YA WIP.

Make weekly progress toward these goals.


  1. Thanks for hosting again, Chris! I don't know that I have a REGULAR sticky spot, but whenever things are going well, I can be pretty sure one is coming! LOL.

    Goals for Oct - revise a short story, revise a screenplay, finish story plan for NaNo project. Whew!

  2. UGH you will never know the brilliance of what I intended to post . . . because I failed to copy it before hitting publish and now it is gone :(

    Alas, I fear it was a sign from the technology muses that I was getting too long winded. So I will press onward.

    I see some familiar faces here on the check-in. Hello to you all. It has been a while, but I am going to work at making a comeback. :) I am the Jenn that Chris mentioned in the post for the giveaway. I just want to say thank you to Chris for hosting and for getting my but back into the writing chair. I have taken far too long of a break and it is time to get back into the swing of things.

    My sticking point (other than starting) is revision. I am terrible at it. I seem to need a gestation period of YEARS before I can go back and effectively make changes that are meaningful. With the incredibly large number that will be atop tomorrow's cake, I know that I must find a way to shorten that part of the process. ;)

    Kudos to you for helping your nephew. I fear that too often we, as teachers, forget that there is a process that must be followed, or assume that because we showed it to the students, or talked about it once, it is being followed. For many of us, the process has become like getting up, getting dressed, and tying our shoes - we have done it so many time, that we no longer need to think about the order in which things must be done. However, until we have repeated it often enough we all go out the door with shoes on the wrong feet, mismatched socks, and our coats on inside out from time to time. My best advise to you is to stick with it, the rewards are there, they are just an extreme form of delayed gratification.

    My goals for October are:
    --Write everyday
    --Blog on a semi-consistent basis
    --Review (Complete) the steps through a master class I took two years ago
    --Get an outline and maybe note cards for a screenplay WIP

    Thank you again Chris, for hosting. I am sorry my check in was DELAYED. I will get better at it, I promise.

  3. I didn't do any better at writing this week than I did at checking in here! But I DO appreciate that you're continuing to host this month, Chris. My new-ish WIP has come to a standstill because I'm not sure it's worth continuing. Am trying to decide whether to start over or trash it completely. The plot just doesn't seem to have enough going for it. I'll give it some distance for a while and then decide.

    On the bright side, I finally finished the church history that I've been working on for two years. Yay!!!! I have it out for a last beta reading / proofing, but am not anticipating much in the way of changes.