Saturday, September 13, 2008


This was good week. I received my galley proof of my upcoming picture book If You Were a Comma... (Picture Window, 2009), part of the Word Fun series. What beautiful illustrations! Sara Gray is just such a talented artist. It's always a joy to see what creations spring from the inspiration of my words. The process is always surprising and delightful.

This week I'm going to take a minute about synthesis. One part of the writing job is something I call synthesis. You can have a great story with fantastic characters but that alchemy of putting all the pieces together: this is the heart of synthesis. I often find that I reach a frustrating place in writing. This is the point that you know you have said everything that you have wanted to say within a story arc, and yet something is still missing.

What is the missing ingredient? I find time and again for me it is the lack of synthesis of the piece. Stories need cohesiveness. Each one needs to come around a central structure to create the impact desired by the author. Stories are bounded, and yet they are extremely fluid. Stories are not limitless in their ability to relate information, but are basically containers of a finite portion of simple truth.

I find it is important to take time and shift around the order of events and the fine-tune the voice of characters in stories. This is the kind of crafting that brings a mediocre work up to great work. Take time to mix around the scenes in your book. Don't be satisfied with an early draft of a work. Take time to look at the thing from various angles. You might open up a new dimension. Enjoy.

My doodle for the week is called Abstraction.

Remember: ©Molly Blaisdell, all rights reserved. If you want to use my cool doodles, ask permission first. It is so wrong to take people's doodles without permission!

Be obscure clearly. E.B. White

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