I’ve started pulling an excerpt from my most recent writing to put into my newsletters. I search for a part that’s intriguing or splendid in some way but that doesn’t give away too much. What I find is that, when I have the portion pulled out by itself, I inevitably refine it. It’s partly that i’m putting a magnifying glass on a single short section as a stand-alone. But there’s another element to it.
Ever since I helped elementary teachers in Berkeley work on KidPix slide shows with their students, about a field trip on the Bay, I’ve been aware of this phenomenon—the immediate difference it makes when we’re aware of expanded audience. I watched the six and seven year olds refining their projects in an intensive way I’d never seen for ordinary school assignments. First they illustrated their experience. Seeing their colorful drawings scanned and on the computer screen, they then scripted what words would go with them. They typed and read aloud, recording their voices, reading, rereading, hearing their friends responses, noticing what would improve it, editing some more. These slideshows looped during Open House; such a simple technology yet such a hit!
Whenever something has the added audience of being on my web site, I walk around in the world feeling its presence. I think that was particularly true when i first launched. But I’m finding it true again, that reading over an excerpt from my novel and imagining thousands of eyes on it, I see it in a new light. Sometimes it makes a difference in how I’m crafting the entire scene.
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