March 3, 2009

Writing story that matters: themes, techniques and voice

These were some notes (not complete) I took down when listening to a lecture given by Susanne Gervey, a writer.

Kids read different from adults: They read and re-read and re-read.
Write very purposely. Write stories for youngsters to engage in when they choose.
“I’ve read Butterflies every year from 14. And it’s different every year.”
Mistake of many writers: TELL young people what to do.

The cave: when Susanne’s son went to survival camps (17yr old)
Why boys seek packs (of kids)? What is this pack capacity of violence? – pack behavior <> leadership, true values
Write with sole & heart.
Boy/Girls: same journey of self-discovery but different ways to explore it.

Writing a short story:
  • Theme: something you care about and you are familiar with
  • Characters: Never more than a few when dealing with a story of a few hundred words. The characters have to change at the end of the story.
  • Opening: Start with immediate emotional engagement
  • Ending: Don’t look for a trick, but find a satisfactory answer to the question raised in the story
  • Descriptions are there for a purpose. Do not use verbose descriptions that serve nothing.

Telling a story:
  • Love your story.
  • Believe in it and have courage.
  • Don’t think about the audience.

Trimming down the story (for length requirement):
  • Cut the plot

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