Last week, I went to my first appointment with a Sweetland counselor and found it very, very helpful.
Instead of jumping straight into my pieces, we talked a long time about background, the purpose of the assignment, and where I was coming from. Only after that did we begin to go over the pieces, in which he pushed me to think of all the different possibilities that a story could present. Wanting to turn my memoirs into fiction, he showed me ways the story could develop and allowed me to question myself on how much I wanted to develop it in certain directions.
He also gave an incredible tip in setting up characters. I was finding it difficult to write in new tones or voices, and he said sometimes that is most true for particular characters in a story. As a suggestion, he recommended basing those characters off someone in my life that I was very familiar with, someone who’s personality I understood quite well, and to use their thought process for my characters, allowing creativity to make its own changes. This was a way to build distance between me and my writing and to allow for the opportunity of multiple voices from one author.
The appointment allowed me to go back and revise my stories, radically, again. I think this repurposing assignment has been the single assignment where I’ve done such comprehensive, completely new revisions every time. My stories come out looking almost heads over tails new, but somehow, I’m not upset that it’s changed so much, rather, excited that I can see it becoming more well-rounded and can only hope that the development continues.