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More on Process

The teacher went over 'connection' with the children as a result of The Little Mermaid photo. They have been told there are 3 kinds: personal, world and story. The question they are asked after their standardized tests on reading comprehension is "did it remind you of anything?" She asked which type of connection was going on in the photo for me. And I ended up answering that it was all three.

Which led to a realization. That I have all 3 in most of my work. That a personal connection is what makes a story individual, makes it my own. A world connection is what makes others relate to it...anyone familiar with the statue would have seen what I saw. And I usually have a story connection in my work. It's frequently buried, but it's there. The world connection can come in the form of significant detail, subject matter, emotions, characterization. It's whatever a reader will recognize. The personal connection is what it means to me. And a reader will bring their own personal connections to it, make personal connections that I never intended. As for story, that's something that comes out of my years of reading, an evocation. It can be blatant or subtle. It depends on the story. It doesn't make it less original. And a reader doesn't have to know the reference.

In fact, I've come to think it's better if I don't mention it openly. For example, I have a Pygmalion story that has given me fits over the years. And recently I came to the conclusion that I wanted to delete all overt references to the Pygmalion mythology. Because the story will stand without it. It's better with it, but the reader will have an 'aha' of their own if I don't hit them over the head with it. This idea settled in when the story was critiqued last summer at Worldcon and the other 'victims' had googled Pygmalion in order to understand what it was. sheesh.

So. I'm pondering this triple connection thingy.
Frog Out



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 3rd, 2007 01:57 pm (UTC)
What a Challenge! I can understand going over this process with middle school students, but first graders? It seems you had an excellent lesson plan, using charts and pictures. Little Mermaid was smart too because most of them are at least familiar with the Disney version. Expanding that to demonstrate the background story might stick and encourage them to read original HCA when they are older.
How did you get this lucky assignment? Are other parents participating in other topics? Or is it becasue of the family writers (I exclude myself as being more of a business writer, communications to staff and customers. Good written communication skills are somewhat lacking in the business world.)
May. 4th, 2007 01:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Teaching
It came up early in the year when I was taking on my banking assignment...I volunteered to fit in where she needed, said my previous job was as a CPA, but I was a writer. And she remembered. In this last quarter, they are working on writing stories and editing. So she asked if I would come in, I sent in 3 ideas and she wants me to do all 3. I thought she would pick one. I'm replacing the 'story mom' in her lineup...they've moved from listening to stories to creating their own and she's never had a writer to tap before.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )