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Posts tagged ‘Breaking Clean’

How to create new stories from existing writing

Part of writing includes stalled starts and manuscripts that are better left in a drawer. But sometimes those pieces of writing that didn’t work out can be turned into something new. Add to that, poems or essays or short stories that reveal ideas and characters so compelling that they may generate brand new works.

One example of this is the memoir Breaking Clean by Montana author Judy Blunt. The first chapter was initially an essay Blunt wrote as a college writing assignment.

Short story writer Pete Fromm wrote How All This Started, a novel, which began as a short story by the same name that was published in his short story collection, Night Swimming.

I recently read a poem to my writer’s group and my writer pals said they wanted to know more about one of the characters in the poem. Maybe my poem will lead to a short story or novel.

Even drafts that don’t work may have promise. As we write and read and write again, we change and learn. We have a new perspective. A draft that didn’t seem to work years ago may have new life in light of all we’ve learned.

What drafts or works have you written that still resonate? Maybe now is the time to give them new life.

Weather as a character in “Breaking Clean”

Weather may seem mundane, but crafted with finesse, weather becomes an antagonistic force and a “character” to be reckoned with in the memoir, Breaking Clean by Judy Blunt.

Blunt wrote about living in a remote area of Montana and of being separated from her true self. Vivid sensory descriptions and scenes of weather illustrate the natural elements that contributed to Blunt’s isolation and search for her identity.

Blunt and her family lived at the mercy of blowing snow, frigid temperatures, and driving rain that turned roads into impassable muddy troughs. Her description of constant wind is eerie and violent:

“It whipped down out of Canada in gusts and gales unhampered by mountains or trees. Wind blew for days on end, a relentless pushing at your back, a constant moan we listened around and shouted over without really hearing.” Read more