|Heart Amulet from Egypt (ca. 1295–1070 B.C.)|
This is the month of love. Our kindergartner was asked to decorate a shoe box to receive Valentines and to bring a Valentine for each classmate. He was also asked to choose an African-American to present in class and he chose Michael Jordan. To add to the month's love, our child is excited to celebrate Michael Jordan on his birthday on Sunday, Feb. 17th, with "round like a basketball" food.
I'm quite taken by how basic assignments - exchange cards on the holiday! Choose someone to study and present! - can morph into discussions about friendship, history lessons and new interests. What do you love? What can you learn from your loves?
I challenge you to return to the books that you love this month. Choose 1 - 3 of your favorite books, essays or stories and outline them. Look for their bones and notice how the books are constructed. When are key plot points introduced? Who are the most important minor characters? Where is the book's central climax? What is the conflict that drives each chapter?
Study the resulting outline. You can use this as you think about structure for your own piece. Think about your pacing, character development and overall plot development. If you follow another structure, you aren't plagiarizing the book, but building on the craft that the writer used. You will write a different piece and likely make many adjustments along the way.
For more, read:
It's Alive! Your Outline
From Writer's Digest: The 4 Story Structures that Dominate Novels by Orson Scott Card and 5 Things to Consider When Structuring Your Memoir by Cheryl Suchors
From Ploughshares: How to Structure Your Memoir by Amy Jo Burns