A Great Teacher

19 Apr

I am a member of the Coeur du Bois Chapter of the Romance Writers of America.  It is a wonderful organization.  Once a month, after the chapter meeting a workshop is presented about the fundamentals of writing.  On April 7, 2012 the chapter welcomed Johanna Harness, yes, our very own Johanna.  The class was entitled: Jump Start Your Novel with Timed Writing.

Now, I’m going to be honest.  I planned to leave early.  My husband had surgery the day before and I needed to get in my classroom to prepare for Monday.

I talked to Johanna ahead of time.  She told me I should act offended and stomp out.  We got a chuckle out of that scenario.

When the time came, I couldn’t leave.  Johanna had my complete attention, well as much as could be expected from someone taking notes as fast as my poor fingers allowed.

If you’ve read my blogs you know several things about me.  I am doing my best to make sense of my writing journey.  When Johanna shared her Plot Arc I went into fits of pleasure.  Please refer to her article Plot Arc.  I’m still looking at it, thinking about how to best incorporate this tool into my arsenal of weapons.

The Plot Arc would have been great, but there was more.  Imagine me squealing when I said “more.”

Johanna included a page about what you can do with ten minutes.

  1. Discover your main character’s weaknesses.
  2. Plot a chapter of your novel.
  3. Find out what scares a character, and why.
  4. Explore what makes characters dislike each other.

The list was more extensive.  Then, Johanna asked us to add to the list.  There was a ringer in the audience, someone working secretly with our wonderful speaker.  She told me I could write 100 words in ten minutes.  It is amazing what I came away during that hour and a thirty minutes.

Come close, so I won’t be overheard.  Are you leaning in?  She was right.  100 words in ten minutes is doable.

You know I try to be honest.  I haven’t done the 100 words every night, but I’ve done it.

Having a good teacher makes a difference.  Have you had a class that helped you focus on a certain aspect of your writing?


Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Idaho


17 responses to “A Great Teacher

  1. Liz Flaherty

    April 19, 2012 at 3:55 AM

    Great post, Lynn, and I love the whole 100 words thing. Like you, I don’t always do them, but I always write at least a sentence, and it’s important and productive to do so.

    • Lynn Mapp

      April 19, 2012 at 9:04 PM

      Writing those 100 words…can be done. We just need to remind ourselves it can be done.

  2. johannaharness

    April 19, 2012 at 6:03 AM

    Aw, Lynn. You made me cry. Thank you.

    • Lynn Mapp

      April 19, 2012 at 9:07 PM

      Johanna, you did an exceptional job. Really, I planned to leave, but you held me captive. Let me say it again, you were wonderful. I wanted to take your things up the road to my school and make copies. I was blown away. You should cry, because…you are a great teacher, and great teachers touch their students lives.

  3. Liz Fredericks

    April 19, 2012 at 6:23 AM

    I KNEW I should have been there, but bless you both for sharing about the presentation. Personally, I think both Lynn and Johanna are amazing teachers and their presence on this blog and in my life has been a great treasure.

    • Lynn Mapp

      April 19, 2012 at 9:08 PM

      Liz, you are so sweet. You are the treasure.

  4. Janis McCurry

    April 19, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    Virtually only, but writer Kathy Carmichael and her methods to write a synopsis set off the lightbulbs in my head. Writing a synopsis is still not my favorite thing, but I feel I have a better handle on how to because of her.

    • Lynn Mapp

      April 19, 2012 at 9:08 PM

      Janis, you know I love Kathy Carmichael. She is fantastic.

  5. Meredith Allen Conner

    April 19, 2012 at 9:00 AM

    Sounds like an awesome class! I wish I could have attended!!

    • Lynn Mapp

      April 19, 2012 at 9:09 PM

      Meredith, it was an outstanding class. Do read Johanna’s article again. She shared a wealth of information. I just brushed over the surface.

  6. ramblingsfromtheleft

    April 19, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Lynn, I always enjoy the tenor of your posts. And since I also love Johanna’s … this was a double pleasure. We use whatever tools we can find, muster up the courage to try new ways of finding the pace of our writing and with help from good teachers, it all comes together. I thank you both 🙂

    • Lynn Mapp

      April 19, 2012 at 9:10 PM

      Ramblings, thank you. And thank you for comparing me to Johanna. That’s high praise.

  7. stephanieberget

    April 19, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Johanna’s class was an eyeopener for me too. And speaking of great teachers, I’d like to add your name. Your students are lucky to have you.

  8. maryvine

    April 19, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Thanks for sharing, Lynn! I particulary liked when Johanna talked about how hard it is to write comedy when you don’t feel like laughing (something to that effect). The answer was to not get inside your head when you’re writing, but your characters head. What great advice that is.

  9. Lynn Mapp

    April 19, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    Speaking of great advise. Thank you Mary. I’ve been off on my words because I’ve been reading the Hunger Games. When Russell died I stopped reading. While I want to produce those pages, it’s important when I pick up a book. One day I was reading. Jerome came into to room and stopped walking when he saw a book in my hand. He even commented that it was good to see me reading a book.
    I finished the first book on Tuesday. I’m almost finished with book 2. I’ll get back to work on Saturday.

  10. Clarissa Southwick

    April 24, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    Wow. I have heard so many great comments on this session. I’m really regretting missing it. Thanks for sharing it, Lynn


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: