Thursday, 29 September 2011

Writing School Leicester short story course, Weeks 2 and 3

Yes, I know. I missed a week. It's been busy. To recap:
The homework got done and handed in, albeit I had flashbacks to school when I left everything to the last minute and had to hastily re-write it during the break thanks to not having a printer. In the end I continued my imaginings from the group discussion in class and sort of grafted a description of my nan's front room onto a character called Barbara Morris, who was loosely based on the idea of that woman who insulted Gordon Brown that time. The piece had an MP - with an appropriate sounding name, as learned in the lesson - visiting The Morris woman's bungalow to heal the breach. If I get round to typing it up I'll post it. it was good practice in just DOING some thing and then handing it in, rather than my usual doing it then hiding it away becausse I fear it's not good enough.
To my complete and utter surprise and delight, week two of the course started well with good feedback from Bead - hooray! - and an opportunity to do some free writing in class which I was brave enough to read out to good response. I hope this does not sound like boasting, but it is so great to finally get some encouragement after what feels like forever writing into the wind.
enthusiasm suitably increased, boldness mustered up, I left week two abounding with ideas and...promptly did not do my homework. life conspires against me yet again. or is it just laziness?
still, week three has offered another twist in the road - poor Bead has a problem with her eyesight and has had to withdraw from the rest of the course. Her replacement, Rachel, is completely different and has a very different style. she's lovely quite quick-moving which I like and very open to discussion. she encouraged us to share and work in groups as she doesn't take homework home and give personal feedback. I have to say this is disappointing as surely that's the main thing new writers need? But it motivated us as a group to share our work, so I have set up a forum for us to do just that. my fellow course members are turning out to be a lovely bunch and there s a lovely sense of camaraderie by the end of the leson which I really hope continues.

homework this week is mixed, nothing that really inspires me so I'm going to return to something I started for Bead but didn't finish. It's the story of a dystopian future middle England, where the financial crash has landed society in post war conditions, with rationing, shops shut down, electricity turned off, disease rife. we pick up the story from the viewpoint of a little girl, queueing to get some medicine for her sick father, who we learn was once a government scientist. Like the idea of a child caring for a parent and at the same time coping with extreme adversity with stoic, childlike acceptance. but of course, and I already feel sorry for the poor little thing, something has to go wrong.

It's actually good because in the class this week we discussed short story structure and the used of conflict to move a story along. I really needed this because this idea I feel has potential but when I first wrote it there was no conflict, no idea of where the climax or resolution would come. I discovered from the group work in class that unlike some of my fellow students I struggle to find the resolution in plot planning. Rachel suggested that maybe I'm the kind of person who can't Decide in advance and just needs to keep writing and see where it takes me. I like this idea although I've always thought it's not very productive. but she has given me confidence to give it a go, so I will see where it takes me.

Until next time, then.

P.s. Sorry about poor spelling, punctuation etc. In this post! It pains me not to amend it but I'm using a borrowed iPad and it's a nightmare! Can't work out how to edit! so will have to amend another day! SO much for 21st century gadgets......

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