It has been a busy weekend, finishing things up for Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. With the weather getting cold and Christmas fast approaching it seemed like the perfect time to buckle down and finish things up.
Yellow Highlighter Classes are designed to offer authors at every level hands on help perfecting and strengthening their manuscripts. Unlike other classes, Yellow Highlighter Classes are hands on and work with each participant’s own manuscript, strengthening the manuscripts weak points and fixing problem points.
Something shifted a few weeks ago when I made my first pieced backing for the bright swirls quilt. Buying fabric for backings and making the backings suddenly became as much fun as making the tops…and since then I’ve been making fairly swift progress through the big bin in the storage room that holds all the projects that are waiting to be quilted. The bright scrappy stars quilt which I blogged about when I was piecing it and layering it several months ago has finally been completed!
These are the first 39 of the 200 items that I pledged to send to Pine Ridge at the start of the 2016. A while back, mid-year, I began to wonder whether I’d be able to send 200 handcrafted things…and the whole 200 may not be handmade, but the majority will be. I’ve got quite a few more hats to send, quite a few crayon rolls finished and more ready to sew. I’ve also got crocheted wash cloths and some purchased dolls, some homemade doll clothes and a couple of quilts and another baby blanket that I think will go there because they are needed there.
Unlike subject focused classes, like how to write emotion, or how to write sexual tension, where you take a class, learn what you can and move to the next class, Yellow Highlighter classes start where you are and you grow through each post, each markup.
Those of us who have been writing for any length of time have been warned of the folly of including too much backstory at the opening of the story…and indeed this is good advice. But in this particular Yellow Highlighter Class my suggestions regarding backstory were mostly advising participants to include more backstory or more detail to explain the character’s current situation. What’s with this? It seems totally at odds with the “Thou Shalt Not Backstory Dump” that we’ve all been taught and internalized…. So…let’s take a step back and talk about backstory and see if we can make some sense of it.
One of the things I’ve wanted to make for a while are some of the crayon rolls that I’ve seen around the internet–especially on Pinterest. I’ve thought that they would be great to send to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
Since I’ve been browsing the internet looking for patterns for crayon rolls, and trying to figure out what I need to buy to make some of them, I thought I’d share some links to some of the patterns that are out there. I’m sure this is something I’ll refer back to again, as there are quite a few different ways to make these crayon rolls…and well…I like variety. 🙂 I get bored if I do too many things that are too much the same…even if I do like the security of knowing what I’m doing and knowing what I need to have on hand to do it.
Rather than being focused around a given topic (like emotion, plotting, sexual tension, and so on) the classes are focused on giving feedback on actual works in progress that participants post. The feedback isn’t specific to just one area, like emotion, sexual tension or plot points. Instead, the markup highlights weaknesses of many types and offers suggestions for strengthening problem areas. A single markup may address a point of view problem–the need for a beat of silence to break up a line of dialogue–suggestions to strengthen emotional and sexual tension–suggestions to strengthen character motivation–an order problem–miscellaneous verb tense issues–and sentence structuring changes to make the sentence stronger or the flow smoother.
One of the things that came up in the class was the concern that if we used metaphors and associations with color, texture, movement, resonance, temperature, shape, smell, solidity, and sound to describe emotional experience we’d introduce purple prose into our writing. Since this seems to be a common concern which comes up in many of the classes I teach on emotion, and since just the fear of introducing purple prose might be holding some people back and keeping them from writing strong, emotional experiences for their characters, I thought I’d address that concern here.
In classes, participants post a 700 word excerpt each day of class and receive a thorough markup of the excerpt each day that class meets. The markups that are given provide the same kind of feedback that I provide to authors that I am editing for publishers prior to publication. In fact, you may see authors who are editing their manuscripts for publication in the class as there are usually authors working on edits for Black Velvet Seductions in the classes.