Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Scenes v. Summaries

I've been learning a lot from Writing Picture Books by Ann Whitford Paul lately.  I was lucky enough to win it during National Picture Book Writing Week and have thoroughly enjoyed working with it.  Today, I wanted to share one little tool that applies to picture books and (ahem) non-picture books.  It's about choosing when to write a scene or a summary. 

A scene is like a line by line from real life...the story you would expect to see in a movie or on a stage.  A summary skips the details and quickly tells you what happened. 

Ann explains that scenes do one of two things: move the plot forward or reveal something new about your characters.  If you're writing a scene that does neither of those things, cut the scene and summarize it.  If you're summarizing a move in the plot, slow down and take the time to write a good scene. 

I immediately began thinking of the scenes that I've enjoyed reading: Katniss shooting the apple at the game-makers feast, Mat Cauthon using a quarterstaff to beat a small army, Nancy tripping over her sparkly parfaits, and many others.  They are all full of action and either move the plot forward or teach us something about the characters. 

Writing a scene is a lot more work than writing a one or two line summary, but it is so much more fun to read.  Are you up for a challenge?  I'm so excited to try writing some scenes that I can't wait to finish posting this! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Little Something For You

There are days and weeks (and sometimes even months) when the demands of life simply refuse to let me blog.  I know you've all seen them!  I will catch up with my normal blog-reading as soon as possible (I miss you all terribly already!), but in the meantime I thought I'd leave you with a few gems from Mother Teresa:

"Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired."

"It is impossible to walk rapidly and be unhappy."

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mama Says...

Writing prompts are a fun way to let your mind exercise and relax at the same time.  Today I'm joining Kelly at Write With Pictures for her Wednesday writing prompt.  Kelly posts a variety of regular writing prompts that are unique and engaging.  Today, for example she is using this picture as a prompt for a 10-word only writing exercise.  I absolutely love this picture!!   Below is my response.  What do you think she's saying?

photo from National Geographic

"Don't make me come out of this lake.  That's it."