Friday, September 23, 2011

Writing to the Middle

I love it when I have an opportunity to teach writing at the school where my children attend. Last year I had the opportunity to work with the 6th graders and we did a project where they each brainstormed and wrote their own story. It was great to see how they each came up with unique ideas and developed them into stories.

One of the the techniques I taught them was to write to the middle. I've come to believe that the more tools I have in my writer's bag to pull out when I need help writing a story, the better. So this has been fun to play with. Here's what you do.

You are writing a story where you know kind of how it begins and ends but are struggling with those details in the middle. Write your beginning at the top (just an idea of how it is going to begin) and then the ending at the bottom.

Look at the top again. What happens right after the thing you wrote down? Just jot an idea of what you think is going to happen.

Now look at the bottom. What happens right before that very last thing that happens, the thing you wrote on the bottom of the page? Write it in the space before that last thing that happens.

Now go back to the top. What happens after the second idea you wrote there? Write it.

Back to the bottom. What happens right before the last idea you wrote there? Write it.

Get the idea? Basically, it helps you work through all the possibilities and find the story hidden in all those ideas.

I probably ought to go use this particular tool with my story again, I keep trying to figure out what Asher and Mya are up to in their adventures. I haven't tried it with a chapter yet, but that would probably work really well. I'm so excited to see it all come together. It's rewarding when the pieces fall into place and the story takes shape a bit at a time.