During this week’s Paperclipping Roundtable on better writing I promised to share a layout in order to illustrate the writing tips we shared (I captioned it below).
This is an older page. It’s not perfect, amazing, brilliant writing, but it tells a good story. And it’s not just a story about what happened at an event, but it illustrates Aiden as a toddler, and me as a protective mother of a three-year-old.
During one of Blake’s baseball practices an older boy, about 7 years old, challenged you to a race. You agreed and off you went.
Of course, we couldn’t expect your little legs to keep up with him and he hit the finish line with the declaration, “I won!” long before you did.
Here I was, your protective mother, irritated that this 7-year-old boy was gloating about beating you, my three-year-old.
But then you reached the finish-line, still at a full pace and with a huge smile on your face. You began yelling, “I won! I won! I won! I won!”
The boy tried his best to convince you (and the rest of us!) that he beat you. But he couldn’t overcome your boisterous “I won!” celebrations. He was frustrated.
And I have never stopped smiling about it.
Some things to look for in the journaling…
- I unfolded the story, beginning with the dilemma/conflict (2nd paragraph) instead of a summation, in order to create enough suspense to draw you in.
- I varied the length and structure of the sentences. Compare each one to see how they are all different.
- I wrote with active verbs instead of passive ones.
- I drew a clear and specific picture of the action with my words.
- I shared a very human story to which we can all relate as fellow humans.
I believe we all have great stories to tell. We just don’t always know how to tell them in a way that draws others in. Next time you write a story for one of your layouts, write it on scratch paper first, and then look at each of the tips above to see how you do.
Don’t worry if your first attempt doesn’t impress you. That’s why we revise. Writing is a practice.