Roy Writing: Week One-Organizing Your Writing

The great thing about organizing your writing, is that there is no one right way to do it.  The best way to do it, is whatever works for you.  This often comes down to personal preference and style. Different writers also want/need different levels of organization, running the whole gambit of micromanaging to only placing the biggest “landmarks” of a story to hit along the way.

My presentation to the students focused on giving a few ideas to try out to see what works for them.  I encouraged them to organize both their plot, but also their characters.

Here are some of the ideas:

Organizing Your Plot: 

o Sticky notes: Write down scenes or events that will happen and then rearrange them. (Put them in the beginning, middle and end piles)

Write an outline on paper or on the computer.  This can be like an essay, or in columns such as “Beginning, Middle, and End” 
Create a timeline and place the events of your story in order. 
Create an idea web with one bubble for each scene.  Make branches off each scene or chapter that describe what you want to happen and what the reader should feel.  

Organizing Your Characters: 

Write a “wanted” poster
oWrite a letter as one character to another
Write the character’s eulogy
Keep a “character book” which has how they look and how they feel in it
Create a problem (like a flat tire) and then write how each of your characters would handle it. 

See the entire presentation here, and find out how writing a good plot is liking riding a good roller coaster. (The presentation is attached to the page and is called “Organizing Your Writing.pptx”)

Feel free to post additional idea you have!

Roy Elementary Author Visit

This week, I had one of the best experiences of my writing career.  I had privilege of visiting Roy Elementary in Roy, UT to get the students excited about writing.  They are putting on a “Young Authors Fair” later this school year, and my visit was to help them prepare for that.

I gave two different assemblies to the school to talk about how I became and author (and how they can too) and then I was off to the classrooms.  Over the course of two days, I visited 21 different classrooms, ranging from Kindergarten to Sixth Grade.  Each teacher had been stressing some part of writing in their classrooms and they had me give one of four presentations about an aspect of writing that they wanted their students to work on.  I was so impressed how well-behaved the students were and how many of them were excited about learning how to write and telling their own stories.

It was a bit of a challenge tailoring my presentations to match the needs and learning levels of such a wide variety of age groups (for example, in Kindergarten, we just talked about ways to use your imagination, while in sixth grade, I could hold a lengthy discussion about the elements of a story), but in the end, I feel that I got the hang of it.

From an author’s point of view, it was a very worthwhile exercise. The principal suggested that I have books on hand for the students to purchase, and through this, I sold 33 books, which is far greater than most events that I hold in bookstores.

As a teacher, the experience was incredibly satisfying, as I saw those young minds light up and ask very intelligent questions about writing and I could tell they were getting excited about it.

I want to make the presentations I used available for use by other writers and by other teachers.  There are four in all, including:

How to Organize Your Writing
Sentence Fluency
Hooking Your Reader

I am going to use this opportunity to explore each of these topics on my blog; once a week for four weeks.  I will prepare a post on this topic and then the PowerPoint presentation file available for free download.

I would love to hear about other opportunities to visit schools.  If you know of any such opportunities, please contact me at