The “new land” revision exercise

This week I gave a workshop on revision for the Knoxville chapter of Friends of Literacy. Here’s one of our exercises. Often in fiction (or non-fiction) characters enter a “new land,” sometimes literally, but often simply a radically new situation. This exercise helps you unlock the potential of the “new land.” It’s fast and fun and may lead to profitable revisions. If it helps you, let me know! I’ll be posting other revision exercises.

IN A STRANGE LAND: You (or your character) leaves a familiar place. Old skills, connections and knowledge don’t help. Answer quickly. Notice that the exercise starts with sensory reality and moves to emotional reality.  Don’t overthink your answers. There’s time for that later.

1.    I (s/he) was a stranger in a strange land when  . . .

2.    I  (s/he) looked around and saw . . .

3.     and heard . . . .

4.    and felt/tasted/smelled . . .

5.    and remembered . . .

6.    and was afraid (or excited) because . . . .

7.    and more than anything wanted, needed . . .

8.    usually, I/he/she would have . . . . .but this time, I discovered . . . .

9.   I/he/she felt so . . . .

10.  one comfort, one hope or strength was that . . .

11.   I/he/she I decided to . . . .

12. and then . . .

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

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Announcements

Workshop on Point of View for the Knoxville Writers Guild, Sat. Feb. 18, 2017, 10am to noon

For more events and specifics, please click on Events.

Recent Review
“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

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