Putting It All Together

When I have a lot of writing finished, but I’m not sure how to put it all together, I find that the following methods help my piece take shape:

1.  Write one paragraph that tells what your story is about.  Include motivation of the characters, where does it take place, what is the conflict?

2. Now distill this down to just two sentences about the story.  (What is the circumstance?  What is the struggle/obstacle?)

3. Find one word that defines the tale “Wisteria,” “Cockfight,” “Sassafras.”

4. Choose an image that represents that word:  picture, object, fabric.  Put it on your desk where you can see it while you write.

Next, I take a stack of index cards (personally, I use 5×6 because I like the feel of a large card!) 

1. Write each scene on a card.  Just a short phrase that tells what the scene is about (such as “My brother fell out of a tree”.)

2. Review the cards and toss them into stacks by similar ideas, themes, or emotions (anger, abandonment, disappointment, delight, etc.).

3. Make a list of the names of each stack. Choose one stack and free-write on that subject for 10 minutes.

Now, go back to your original paragraph and include images from this fresh write in your overview of your story.  I think you will be amazed at the fresh perspective this will give you!