23th November 2015

The END.

I’m still working on my short story and this MOOC is coming to an end. In Twitter #heywriters an article on The Fatal Flaw in Weak Descriptions was shared – https://janefriedman.com/descriptions/.

14th November 2015

Session on Embrassing Revision – https://vimeo.com/145178428

The importance of revision of a first draft.

Two interventions in this session:

Venise Berry has a journalist background and tells about the process of telling a story in an economic way. For many writers revision is a painful process but she finds it the most exciting moment of writing. She thinks that reading out loud may help to edit the work and correct it, the way one hears the words. It’s important to have a second reader to give feedback and criticize the writing.

She uses a reference/checklist for each character to keep consistency throughout the story. Revision should be made after a certain time, to get some distance and have fresh eyes.

She advises to save in a separate file all the parts that are cut, because it may be used later on. She also advises not to over edit because one has to finish the work. There’s no perfect time to stop but if one gets stuck to further revise than it’s better to come to an end.

She usually designs a story arc, makes her research for a certain period and then writes it. She makes her revisions upon different layers, i.e, her first revision might be about grammar, then she may look through the action, more scenes, more details, a third one might be about the dialogues, look for repetitive words, another revision might be about flow and rythm, and so on. The author reads a section of her story and exemplifies how she makes this process of layering/revising.

Hemingway said that the only good writing is about revision.

Susan Taylor Chehak is the second writer to speak about revision, who considers that the real writing is process of revision. She has an online projects includewww.whathappenedtopaula.com, a collaborative web-based investigation into the as yet unsolved murder of a former schoolmate, and www.thetruthaboutpaulao.com, a blogged memoir of Susan’s ongoing 15-year investigation into the Paula Oberbroeckling murder case.

Reading resource – Writers on Writing: The Secret Life of Subtext, by John McNally – http://passagesnorth.com/archives/issue-28/the-secret-life-of-subtext/

«It’s taken me a long time to realize what revision is all about (what it’s about for me, at least). It’s about discovering the story’s subtext. The story always has a surface story, the obvious thing that the story is about, but what does all of it mean? How do the disparate elements of a story add up to mean something that’s greater than its individual parts? What’s the story’s cumulative effect?»

Taking on previous sessions about revision process:

Subtexts are those huh moments that might happen as you are rereading your narrative—they don’t necessarily have to be loud. They can read as quieter revelations. They may completely reroute your narrative. And sometimes, as I said before, the rich emotional stuff of your story can be buried in the subtext. One way that the subtexts of my stories have been revealed to me is when other people have read my work and are able to spot points of interest that I may have overlooked.

Have you ever been having a conversation with someone and the stuff this person isn’t saying—in obviously or in more subtle ways—is the part of the conversation that resonates and rings truer to you? This is subtext. (Alexia)

In real life, each of us is walking around having a nearly non-stop internal monologue (or even dialogue sometimes!). When we interact with others, that internal conversation quiets some but often it is still running in the background in the form of judgment, self-consciousness, worry about whatever has us stressed at that moment, etc. Sometimes, what we blurt out or choose to tell someone is much more telling about our present state than it is about how much we trust or want to include another person in those thoughts. (For example, someone might tell their dentist they are about to be laid off before they’ll tell their husband and children.) (Christa)

10th November 2015

August Wilson describes how dialogue comes to him and guides his character development and the plot. This film excerpt from August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand includes a dramatic reading of the opening scene of “Two Trains Running” (Broadway premiere 1992).- http://video.pbs.org/video/2365428942/

8th November 2015

Session on Immersion and Setting: Description and World Building – https://vimeo.com/144635340

Reading Resources:

Excerpt of Song of the Shank, by Jeffery Renard Allen

Excerpt of Tinkers, by Paul Harding

4th November 2015 

Session dedicated to Voice and Setting – Fiction Fundamentals – Voice, Character and Setting – https://vimeo.com/144383107

Reading Resource – Going Home, by Chka Unigwe – http://www.kenyonreview.org/kr-online-issue/2015-summer/selections/chika-unigwe-342846/

2nd November 2015

A new chapter towards the ending of the short story – Macau experience – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/life-goes-on/

collage Macau

30th October 2015

A new chapter on the falling action – The tragedy – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/the-tragedy/

29th October 2015

A new chapter on the couple’s civic and political involvement – Civic and social engagement – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/civic-and-social-engagement/

28th October 2015

A new chapter on the couple’s life – Life autonomy – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/life-in-revolutionary-times/

27th October 2015

Course vídeo on «Using character to produce frame and arc» – https://vimeo.com/143011043

26th October 2015

A new chapter to address the period of the revolution in 1974 – Chapter 11 – The revolution process – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/the-revolution-process/

collage crise academica

Photos of academic crises in the 60’s in Portugal

collage murals revolution

Photos of murals 25 de Abril

25th October 2015

Fiction Fundamentals – Strutcture and Character Arc – https://vimeo.com/143636884

A new chapter to introduce João’s girlfriend – Chapter 10 – The Girlfriend – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/the-girlfriend/

collage campus

Photos Instituto Superior Técnico , Reitoria da Cidade Universitária and a students’ ball in the 60’s

24th October 2015

A new chapter about the colonial war and the threat upon young men – Chapter 9 – The colonial war – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/the-colonial-war/

collage colonial war

Photos of the colonial war, dictator Salazar and fascist government

23rd October 2015

Life in town and new supporting characters who will play an important role in the life of the main character – Chapter 8 – Life in town – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/life-in-town/

Article: How to write fiction: Meg Rosoff on finding your voice – http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/oct/18/how-to-write-fiction-meg-rosoff

Writing Fiction & Poetry : How to Generate Short Story Ideas – https://youtu.be/rWNDpXqo-Ik

How to build a fictional world – Kate Messner (TED ED) – https://youtu.be/ZQTQSbjecLg

Seven Tips From Ernest Hemingway on How to Write Fiction – http://www.openculture.com/2013/02/seven_tips_from_ernest_hemingway_on_how_to_write_fiction.html

101 of the Best Fiction Writing Tips, Part I – http://writeitsideways.com/101-of-the-best-fiction-writing-tips-part-i/

22nd October 2015

I decided to introduce a jump in time and a turning point in the life of my main character – Chapter 7 – The turning point – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/the-turning-point/

This change reflects the moving from rural village to the big town capital. Introduces two new supporting characters João aunt and uncle

collage joao aunt uncle

Secondary characters – João’s aunt and uncle

21st October 2015

The sanctuary was a good pretext to write about the botanic specimans of the location.

The next chapter of the short story  was about the making of the herbarium by the main character – Chapter 6 – The herbarium – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/the-make-of-the-herbarium/

collage herbarium

Photos botanic specimens at Santuário de Nª Sª das Preces, Serra da Estrela

20th October 2015

I keep building my main character – Chapter 5 – The pilgrimage to the sanctuary – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/pilgrimage-to-the-sanctuary/

In a recent visit to Aldeia das Dez and santuário Nª.Sª das Preces I was impressed with the nice green surroundings and the beautiful trees.

collage santuario

Photos Sanctuary de Nª. Sª. Preces

18th October 2015

And my short story continues – Chapter 4 – The fascination for beehives – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/the-fascination-for-beehives/

A little bit of digging on bees social organization.

16th October 2015

Fiction Fundamental – Plot – https://vimeo.com/142900520

Chapter 3 of my short story – José, a good friend – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/jose-a-good-friend/


Diagram of plot

My shortstory diagram

Diagram shortstory

15th October 2015

Diagram on Narrator Point of View based on the article – http://www.thebeginningwriter.com/2012/03/look-at-different-types-of-point-of.html

Character development diagram 2

Diagram on narrator’s points of view

14th October

Fiction Fundamental 2 – Expanding on Character – https://vimeo.com/142157989

Working on the supporting character José, João’s friend

collage jose supporting character

Secondary character José profile

Different types of point of view – http://www.thebeginningwriter.com/2012/03/look-at-different-types-of-point-of.html

11th October 2015

Based on an article about Character Development I made this diagram:

Character development diagram

Diagram on character development

10th October 2015

I haven’t been able to participate in the discussions of this MOOC as much as I would like. This time it’s been difficult to articulate the two MOOCs I’m engaged at the same time. My priority has been for Poetry. So, practically in this MOOC I’m just doing the assignments, trying to build my short story on João do Piódão.

The second week of this MOOC focus on Developing characters – Cast and Dialogue and on this subject I found this article on The Guardian – How to write fiction: Andrew Miller on creating characters.

Suggested vídeo – Expanding on Character: Cast and Dialogue – https://vimeo.com/138774694

Suggested Readings:

By the Light of my Father’s Smile, by Alice Walker – http://www.randomhouse.com/rhpg/rc/library/display.pperl?isbn=9780345426062&view=excerpt

The secret Life of Walter Mitty, by James Thurber – http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1939/03/18/the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-2

8th October 2015

The 2nd assignment proposes that the character solves a mystery together with other supporting characters.

«Write a scene in which your main character feels compelled to solve a mystery or fix a problem. The mystery or problem has to involve your main character, your secondary character, and a supporting cast of one, two, three, or four people. And these characters must address the mystery or problem in dialogue. It’s fine if they don’t all understand the mystery or know how to solve the problem – but they all must speak.»

Chapter 2 – One mysterious day – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/one-mysterious-day/


Photos of Piódão village

5 October 2015

Design of my character  –  Chapter 1 – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/chapter/character-joao-do-piodao/ 

collage character João do Piódão

Main character – João’s profile

An irish writer talks about developing character – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0VCBshzYk4

Suggested vídeo – Fiction Fundaments – Starting with Character – https://vimeo.com/141439457

3 October 2015

I started an ebook for my writings in this MOOC, to collect the assignments – http://moocwritings.pressbooks.com/

Assignments suggested in the first week:

Object of Wonder – Object of Desire and Conflict – Object of Agency

The object I’ve chosen was My Moroccan Tureen

collage moroccan ceramics

Moroccan ceramics

Suggested reading:

Where we must be – http://recommendedreading.tumblr.com/post/103037320145/where-we-must-be-by-laura-van-den-berg

I started designing a character a child born in an isolated village in the mountain – João do Piódão

2 October 2015

Fiction Fundamentals: Starting with Character – https://vimeo.com/141439457

Suggested readings:

Write Till You Drop – http://www.nytimes.com/books/99/03/28/specials/dillard-drop.html

On keeping a notebook – https://penusa.org/sites/default/files/didion.pdf

1 October 2015

How writers write Fiction is a new MOOC promoted by the University of Iowa that starts on the 1st of October 2015.


Twitter –  

Introductory video – https://vimeo.com/138768208

In this course, we’ll build upon a new craft element in fiction writing each class, working to offer you a well-rounded toolkit and supportive writing community at the course’s end. For this round of How Writers Write Fiction 2015, we are excited to offer you the following class sessions:

Class Session 1: Starting with Character

Class Session 2: Expanding on Character: Cast and Dialogue

Class Session 3: Working with Plot

Class Session 4: Using Character to Produce Frame and Arc

Class Session 5: Voice and Setting

Class Session 6: Immersion and Setting: Description and World-Building

Class Session 7: Embracing Revision

Farewell Class: Onward! The Writing Life

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