For Zip this year, I asked myself this question. What are some of the ways one could begin to write a novel? I felt drawn to this question and this topic because I have always loved creative writing, and I have always had a passion for bringing my ideas to life in stories. I managed to stay on course with my question for this entire unit, however my objectives experienced some change. My initial, overly ambitious goal was to complete a well written novel in a month. Which after my research and learning, I quickly realized was not possible. My adaptation was to complete planning documents and a full draft of a story in said month, which turned out to be not only more achievable, but more enjoyable and stress free. During my research, I focused on three main categories: Getting started, Fiction writing strategies, and story planning. In all of these, one of the largest pieces of overlap was the idea that every strategy, piece of information and helpful hint would be specific to the author themselves. So naturally, I tried a lot of different techniques. The following websites contained some of the most important tips I found during my research.
When getting your ideas on paper there a virtually hundreds of strategies available from many accomplished sources, such as writing your conflict first, writing your conclusion first, freewriting, or writing out every step and then expanding. I gave each of these a shot, however I found that the most useful strategy for myself was to free write, and then use that momentum to flesh out characters, dialogue, and visual descriptions. By far, the most useful resource to me was a website surrounding “The snowflake method for writing a novel” by Randy Ingermanson.
This website laid out a step by step recipe to bring your ideas to life, and I ended up following these steps to control my writing into legible, and organized chunks. This technique consisted of steps such as: writing a summary sentence and then expanding to a paragraph, and then expanding to a page for the plot, each supporting character’s point of view, and the protagonist’s point of view. This allowed me to organize my thoughts and synchronize the arcs of each character in relation to the plotline. One of the most useful things I will take away from this project will be the amount of resources I found surrounding writing fiction including but not limited to: Creating realistic characters, with flaws and internal conflicts, letting your scenes play out, sticking to the main plot, and showing not telling.
Additionally, I have subscribed to an organization called the Write Practice, who holds seminars surrounding story writing and publication, as well as providing a really great platform to share your work and learn from individuals who are dealing with the same writing struggles as yourself.
My final learning artefact for this project is my story draft, as that is what all of my work has ultimately led to. This artefact represents my entire project when combined with my notes and my character documents. The largest curricular competencies that this project utilizes would be creative thinking and communication, because to create a completely original idea and effectively put it on paper, your communication skills have to be well developed, as does your creativity and imagination. The following is my summary sentence for my story, which I expanded form my summary sentence.
“A young truth seeking girl realizes that the religion her family is running is nothing more than a collection of fairytales. She decides to expose the religion for what it truly is and after her attempts are foiled, she must work with other like-minded individuals to help the citizens of her world understand the true control that her family and their stories exercise over them all. Alongside this, she must deal with the personal conflict of hurting her family, and the idea of doing something for the greater good, whether or not it leads her to be outcast from her life and home.”
This story allowed me to apply the following curricular competencies:
Assessing and refining texts to improve clarity and impact, because a very influential part of this project was the repeated editing process. Editing became my refresher for every day I was writing, and I would start each day by reviewing and revising a different page. This gave me an overall more comprehensive and understandable draft, as well as helping to eliminate or build on plotlines that veered away from the topic at hand. This alongside thinking critically, creatively and reflectively to explore ideas within, between and beyond texts, which was the goal for my project. The topic of the story I wrote this year is very close to my heart, and it is an issue that I want to raise conversation around. Writing this story allowed me to do this in an engaging manner, that didn’t come as a full-frontal attack to the issue itself. This point also connects to the English 10 big idea, which states that the exploration of text and story deepens our understanding of diverse, complex ideas about identity, others, and the world. This project was incredibly enjoyable and it really helped me to connect with a passion of mine that I have always wanted to learn more about. My project raised many questions, including, what comes next? How does one publish a book? and how should one complete the editing process effectively to make the overall story more impactful? These questions are important to me, because to finish my story I need these skills and strategies. Luckily, Zip is more than a project with homework for me this year, it’s a passion, so I will be continuing with my writing and maybe someday, who knows? My story will get published, and I get to share my knowledge with more than just my class. I thoroughly enjoyed Zip this year, and I look forward to continuing with my learning.