DIY MFA: Try a new technique

Today’s prompt for the DIY MFA Book Club is to a try a new-to-you technique from the DIY MFA book.

I always appreciate this sort of external push towards trying something that I might not do otherwise. It was also encouragement to spend some more time with the book (which, while I had been intending on doing so, had not really happened).

So, I ended up doing the story sketch for the novel that I almost ready to send out to publishers. This novel has been at this state for the last four or six months. My daughter read it in the summer and we talked about the adjustments that ought to be made to it.

Since then, I have been half-heartedly working on it. While I want to finish it, other (life) things have intervened. I have written a half-dozen short stories and submitted most of them to various places. And I wrote the first draft of my next novel in November for Nanowrimo.

I have, with a certain amount of enthusiasm and some reticence, returned to the absolutely-positively final edit of this novel in the last few weeks. The story sketch exercise jumped out at me as a nice focusing exercise. I have put this aside again and again and I need to to be clear, to myself, about what is the core story that I am trying to tell.

I have not completely finished the story sketch, but it is already helping me to  focus on the central aspects of my story. Generally, I find that, the deeper that I get into editing, the easier it is for me to start panicking and wanting to change absolutely everything. Having a basic understanding of the story and what it is intended to express is enormously helpful.


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