I have been writing with my students.
We all engaged in NaNoWriMo, with various degrees of success.
Now, we are preparing to publish our work.
My story is a tangled mess.
At least, I think it is.
I've been meandering towards an ending for thousands of words.
It's like when you are driving.
There is a landmark off in the distance.
It should get closer as your drive towards it.
Instead, it seems to recede.
For what seems like forever, you never get any closer to your goal.
That is the end of my story.
I keep writing, and the end of my story keeps not getting any closer.
I'm chasing it.
It's running away.
Every time I think I'm getting close, my brain takes a left turn.
I have to follow the plot that flows out of my fingers.
I mean, I have a plan, a plot map, a list of events, and an end point.
Somehow, though, even while I'm following it, I'm not getting closer.
In fact, I've already determined I have to think of this as the first book in a sequence.
There are way too many ideas for me to include this time around.
And it hasn't really helped.
So I've been slogging along feeling like I'm way off track.
The past few thousand words, it seems like my characters are getting mushy.
They started with such strong and distinct voices.
Anyway, I write at home and during class.
And I ask my students for help.
I might not be satisfied with my writing, but my kids are really impressed.
I took a couple of paragraphs and handed them out as extra credit for students who would give me feedback.
Most of them were so positive it wasn't really helpful.
A couple were kind of brutal.
A handful were super helpful.
I got advice about what details to add or how to break my writing up more.
They explained what they could picture and what was unclear.
It was really helpful.
My hook is much stronger after the revisions those comments prompted.
But what really feels nice is the comments I'm getting from kids.
A little girl stayed after school for help revising her hook.
She asked me about my story, so I told her about it.
Her response: "Ms. Hirsch, I wanna live in your brain!"
One of my Students as Mentors (Seniors serving community service by tutoring in my classes) is reading my novel.
Her response: "You gotta publish this story. It's so interesting!"
Not for nothing, constructive feedback is a good thing.
Positive feedback is pretty awesome too.
Now I gotta go finish this stupid story!