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Diary
By ana (Mon Nov 10, 2008 at 10:50:27 AM EST) (all tags)
I guess it's been a while.


Um, lessee...

Life goes on, pretty much.

One new thing this fall is that I finally decided, for the first time in my life, to take a creative writing class. The local center for adult education has some, and the catalog for this fall included a new one: a workshop on novel writing. Since I do that kind of thing, I mean, sure, why not?

It's been fun. I have a NaNo that I wrote last November, based on The Road Home, a WFC-winning short story. I'm told, has some promise. So I spent much of my spare time in August (give or take) this past summer rewriting it. This consisted in part copying existing chapters with a careful read-through and some rearranging of stuff, plus writing new scenes and completely reworking the ending.

The workshop has 11 (was 12, but one dropped after the first class) plus the instructor, somebody who's working on her fifth draft of a novel (and, on a whim, decided late on Halloween Night to write a NaNoWriMo). We've each turned in a synopsis and a first chapter or two, and the class is working through them, two a week. I spent considerable angst and 3 drafts which people commented on, getting the synopsis to kinda sorta make sense. It's still lacking, as the workshoppers pointed out, but it's getting there. They also had some excellent suggestions for the first chapter, and for the novel as a whole.

The instructor said that the plot as outlined in the synopsis was enough like a software program that maybe I should get somebody who does software QA to give it a read and see if they could see how the plot worked (or failed to work) given the synopsis. Any takers?

Anyway. I'm doing a re-read on the screen before I send it to lulu.com to print copies of the second draft. I find it so much easier to read on paper, and lulu.com will print an actual book for less than it costs to xerox the manuscript (or even print it out) that it makes some sense to do it that way. Plus, it looks cool on my shelf. :-)



This weekend was nice, so we finished painting the bulkhead door, with bright blue rustoleum. That should keep it for another few years. And we also ground up the leaves in the yard with the lawnmower, and carted them to the compost heap.

We also had an actual date-date, going to see Synecdoche, New York, followed by dinner at the Cambridge Brewing Company. Was fun, and I'm still thinking about the movie.

And we both get tomorrow off, since it's Veteran's Day. I see aphrael already posted his annual copy of In Flanders Fields. So we have another mini-weekend, after today's mini-week. Score! \o/

I think I'm done here.
< "Hibarigaoka, Ikebukuro, Tokyo, & Shinjuku - October 1991" | Lookin' good, gettin' presents >
Updates, mostly about writing | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Do you think this workshop will be useful overall? by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #1 Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 02:49:47 AM EST
I've always been told by people who've been in them that they are hellishly useless and so I've always avoided them as sources of the plague. Is it actually helpful or is it just fun to have feedback on your book in an easy location, which of course is probably useful?

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Destroy All Planets

Somewhat useful by ana (2.00 / 0) #2 Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 04:08:15 AM EST
And also a lot of fun. These people care about writing, and they all have a novel or two in their heads, wanting out. So even when they're not critiquing my work, I can learn things from the way they put their novels together.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
This sounds more useful than one of those by Clipper Ship (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 05:00:11 AM EST
college Creative Writing degree things where everyone fully believes they are Joyce or Irvine Welsh and it seems a lot more serious than it is: writing down words for the entertainment of others, yourself included. The only thing that would deter me would be the lack of an expert around, but what is an expert anyway?, I suppose.

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Destroy All Planets

[ Parent ]
Plot as Software Architecture by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue Nov 11, 2008 at 10:23:55 AM EST
That's an interesting thought, and not far off from thoughts I've been having lately as I delve -- for the first time, really -- into hashing some shit out before I actually sit down to write.

In some ways the experience is very alien to me -- stodgy, technical, dry -- but on the other hand after improvising a novel on the tubes for the past twelve months, I really needed a break from thinking on my feet (thinking on my keys?).

Pre-writing plot scripting is a lot like software architecture. It's a machine composed of small devices that have to connect in a mechanically sound way to one another. This is elegant, but can also be discouraging: all too often recently while I try to organize something, I follow some individual lines of character action and find they do not equate the way I need them to in order to push the plot ahead...then I have to decide which is broken: the plot or the people.

Someone really does need to design a quick and easy debugging routine for this kind of stuff.


I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da.
Updates, mostly about writing | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback