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August 22, 2012
Posted at 5:31 pm
Updated: August 23, 2012 - 8:05 am
 

Editing 'A teacher and her student..' what 1.5 years exp.can do

In my efforts to improve myself, I'm currently revisiting 'A teacher and her student, a forbidden love.' I wanted to share some of the details that go into improving this story.

Two-and-a-half weeks ago I published A Little Help and it's been a great adventure so far. Publishing a novel really made me hungry to get more stories published. Since it's easier to edit and revisit a previously written story, I thought it would be a fun and useful project to touch up my first completed novel. Once it's done the new version will be published both on SOL and on Smashwords.com for free.

Right now I'm only at chapter 1, but I wanted to give a small preview and show how ones skill can improve in just one-and-a-half year, when you really commit yourself to it. Between now and then I've written hundreds of pages, read dozens of stories, studied grammar, writing techniques, and in general I practiced a lot on roleplaying sites. A lot of my readers have also been very generous with their feedback, and that aided me greatly at improving myself as well. (Thank you guys, you know who you are!)

I want to share the new introduction to the story with all of you, and let you judge for yourself if it got any better.


THE OLD INTRODUCTION:
It was Friday midday, 4 p.m. Alice let out a deep sigh, she had a tough week and she was glad that she was finally off work. As a math teacher she was responsible for teaching the fourteen to sixteen year olds the basics about mathematics at a high school, in a suburb in the United States.

Unfortunately most of her students seemed more interested in having fun and trashing the classroom than actually learning something. There were a couple of exceptions and usually the boys were worse then the girls, however, teaching classes was slowly but surely turning into a living hell for her.

Alice was twenty-six years old and having finished college at the age of twenty-two she only had four years of experience with standing in front of a class. She was great at explaining new subjects and getting the points across, however, maintaining order wasn't one of her strongest points.


THE NEW INTRODUCTION:
With every passing second, the clock made a soft ticking noise. When the large clock hand finally hit the twelve, while the small clock hand was at the four, the school bell rang insistently; heralding the end of the class, and the start of the weekend.

Students made a hasty retreat from the classroom, leaving their teacher, Miss Evans, behind, as she yelled, "Remember class, I want you to study pages 214 to 221. There will be a test next week!"

Several of her students grumbled unintelligible words, while a couple of them gave her a dirty look. One even voiced his protest with a loud curse, but left in a hurry as Alice glared at him through the slits of her eyes.

After the last student had left the room, she let her shoulders drop, while a deep sigh escaped from her lips. She closed her eyes for a moment, and rubbed her temples with her fingers. She had endured a tough week, and she was glad to that she could finally go home and relax. As a math teacher, she was responsible for teaching the sixteen to eighteen-year-olds advanced mathematics at a high school, in a suburb in the United States.

It was unfortunate that most of her students seemed more interested in having fun and trashing the classroom, than actually learning something. There were a couple exceptions, and usually the boys were worse then the girls, but either way, teaching classes was turning into a living hell for her.

Miss Evans, or Alice, had only four years of work experience. She had finished college at the age of twenty-two, and after she had graduated and had enjoyed a well-deserved vacation, she had accepted a job at a local high school. Explaining new subjects and getting the points across was easy to her, but maintaining order in an unruly class was like herding cats; a pointless exercise that only resulted in a lot of frustration.
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It's the same text really, but so much more is happening now! I hope to create a lot more immersion with the new version and show her frustration, rather than tell about it. Oh, and in case you're wondering about the different ages, due to legal reasons I'm obliged to change the age of John and turn him from a fifteen-year-old into an adult, which is why the story went from 14 - 16 to 16 - 18.

If I can touch up the entire story like the new introduction, then it'll probably create a much better reading experience. For me it also makes a great practice for my next big project, a scifi series. In the past I never quite understood what was meant with showing vs. telling. Since then I've come to understand that it's okay to tell parts of the story, but that an emphasis should also be on showing what's happening. I won't claim to be anywhere near an expert, and there are many authors out there who are much better at it than I am, but it's fun to see myself improve over the years and figure out new tricks to make things work.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the revision and feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions.

J. Storm