As the mini-lesson about fleshing out characters ends, I send my young authors away from our meeting place to work on revising their personal narratives. I remind them to consider how they can make their characters more human, more realistic, so that their readers will be able to connect with them.
While everyone is settling, I sit down with own writer’s notebook and begin to consider the revisions my students suggested for fleshing out the character in my own narrative. We had decided that she was too perfect (or too Goody Two Shoes, as one student pointed out. Another quickly said, “No one is THAT good!”). Of course, they were right. My plan was to work on giving this character some imperfect traits. I planned to share my revisions right along with my students during the sharing time.
As I write, I notice that several of my kiddos get up to move closer to the table where I chose to work today. I smile. This happens every time. They get right back to work but every now and then, I see them sneaking glances to watch me as I write, also. Before long, I notice that they are moving their post it note revision suggestions around, spider-legging (adding items to the bottom of the page and drawing arrows to where it should go), and adding additional scenes on separate sheets of paper. We continue writing until it is sharing time. I answer a few questions here and there and occasionally walk around the room to see if anyone needs help. Everyone is working and seems to understand what they are doing.
I am constantly amazed that writing alongside my writers holds so much power. I could talk all day about these revision strategies, but watching as I apply these strategies to my own writing gives them a model to follow and practice. As a bonus, I am getting lots of opportunity to sharpen my own narrative writing skills. It’s a win-win situation.