Are you identifying the moments in your writing which call for a deeper delve into the details? Do you catch those phrasings, which provide a near perfect set-up for the insertion of new metaphor, imagery, or backstory? I call these moments entry points. Are you utilizing them?
If you’re not, you need to reconsider your writing strategy. Developing a better sense of recognizing the entry points within your writing will improve your writing.
The addition of one word, new stanza or reorganized phrasing within a point of entry can make a world of difference in the progression of your work. These points of entry exist throughout your writing. If you don’t recognize them, you are missing valuable opportunities.
”Read that line again…” are requests that Robbin Farr and I frequently make during our AWA workshop feedback sessions. As the writer re-reads their line, we listen carefully before following up with some variation of, “Yes, right there. The point of entry is in that line.” And with that, we offer insight into the place within the writing that appears full of potential for further development.
Recognizing the Entry Points
Locating entry points requires critical listening, reading, and consideration. You’ll need to question yourself and the writing. Where might one detail be developed to offer a hint more backstory? Where might a line be fleshed out to further create a more striking image? Where might you expand upon an already interesting moment in the writing?
Reading through a rough draft with the intent of identifying entry points is an important strategy for any writer. Recognizing those points takes skill and practice. The effort is worth it. The resulting refinements, at minimum, will be more impactful lines.
Expanding Upon the Possibilities
So why is it that writers often miss these points? I believe it’s because we don’t think enough of our first drafts. We don’t consider that our early drafts offer more than surface potential.
True, some drafts are richer than others. But first drafts are frequently under-valued and underutilized. They can and should be mined for additional moments of potential richness. I encourage returning, and new writers especially, to look for those easy to miss entry points within their own drafts.
The key is to read and critically reread, while watching for moments that strike you as being prime for further exploration. These are the moments with potential, your entry points.
You’ll want to expand upon the possibilities of all that is hinted at in the first draft. Note and work areas where already established images, characters, and themes may be further expanded. If you feel you usually miss these opportunities in your own writing, a writing workshop or coaching session with a more experienced writer may help.
Work Those Drafts
Any first draft is an awesome thing. Early drafts are stocked with such potential. In my mind, it is as if someone was extending an offer for you to journey through unexplored territory with a guarantee that the results, on some level, will be fruitful.
Sure, some drafts may not amount to much, yet, others turn into prized pieces. Either way, a writer develops experience through the process or working those entry points to fruition. So go ahead, work your drafts to their fullest extent. Seek out the entry points within them. And don’t be surprised to when your writing improves.
May the Muses be with you!