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Chaffing Thirty

Sorting Chaff from Wheat

Sorting Chaff from Wheat (Oh! grab the Winnie the Pooh one – I love it)

Okay, finally finished Lesson Four — took foreverrrrrrrrrr! Why you say? You didn’t know you said that did you? I love inquiring minds. Well, since you asked, it was very difficult. Remember way back to Lesson Three where I had to come up with three story-lines based upon my mind map? For Lesson Four the idea was to remove the chaff from the wheat. Okay, now you want to know how did I get from story-lines into agriculture? You sure ask a lot of questions. To better understand this obscure reference you first need to understand that chaff is a waste product from grain processing (the dry, scaly protective casing) that is not consumable by humans. So metaphorically speaking it is writing that a Reader will NOT read — it is not something they can easily digest. Basically it is something seen as worthless. The common expression “to separate the wheat from the chaff” such as in Matthew 3:12, where it means to separate things of value from things of no value.

Enough on the history of this cliche, just be satisfied that it sufficiently covers Lesson Four. The idea was to take each of the three story-lines, from Lesson Three, and see if I could come up with a 30 word Sentence that really captured the essence of the storyline. Something that was good enough to grab the attention of an Agent or Publisher and have them ask for more information. At the same time it had to be a Sentence that intrigued me and that I felt I would enjoy writing about. If I couldn’t do this with one of the story-lines then it became chaff — it went into the fire or was chopped up for the cows to eat (though I don’t even know where there are any cows around here :-)).

So this may not sound hard. All I had to do was to capture the essence of a 100,000+ word book (or actually in one of my cases a three or four book series) in THIRTY words. Well, at least enough to intrigue someone, and more importantly myself. So now you understand the whole Chaffing and Thirty reference. See I knew you would get it (with only a little help).

It took me almost three weeks to complete this lesson as I had to first figure out some of the key components to go into each Sentence. Holly’s guidance in the lesson helped a lot. She has a nice formula for figuring out the structure of the Sentence and what components (e.g. Characters) have to go into it. But it was up to me to figure out how to fill in the components of the Sentence, and in some cases to even determine what constituted one of the key components and what didn’t. So you can see my dilemma. One of the story-lines came to me fairly quickly. Another one was somewhat of a struggle, but I finally captured it. The third one, and the one that I hope will be my novel took almost two weeks by itself. And I never got it down to 30 words or less, but did manage to get it to 35. And I am really excited about. In fact I am thrilled with all three of them and could easily see me happily writing a novel with the other two story-lines. I am so excited I can hardly wait to start writing.

Oh, I almost forgot. Willow is tugging on my sleeve. Actually she just ripped the seam. Real nice Willow. I guess I need tell you what happened with Lesson Four and the the ongoing saga of Willow and IE in this process. As it turned out IE and I started playing with the three Sentences, but we needed to call on Willow to help us get the first and final drafts. And boy did she rub it in. I think that is why it took so long — she wasn’t making it easy on me. I got her to help us come up with the first draft of the Sentences and then IE and I chopped them down getting rid of the chaff (very IE like) and then at the end we needed Willow to step up again to help capture the right words to make the Sentences sparkle. There are you happy now? Ok fine, I won’t make you sit in the corner again. <Unless it is necessary :-)> I am really curious how this will all turn out?

Now on to Lesson Five.

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