Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, work slows down just enough to trick me into thinking I have time for extracurricular activities. Some people might plant a fresh summer garden filled with tomatoes, squash, eggplant, and zucchini or simply plant some new, beautiful flowers in hopes of attracting butterflies and hummingbirds.
Me? I’ve enrolled in a creative writing class. The instructor is intending for each of us to be inspired enough to participate in NaNoWriMo this fall, and she’s giving us the tools and techniques to get us to the starting line. In fact, this 10-week course is more or less focusing on the start of the plot and how to keep it going. We’ll be reading Writing the Breakout Novel and The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction, which is new to me.
I thought over the course of summer, I’d share some of the tricks, tips, and techniques learned in class as I’m sure there’s someone out there looking for helpful advice in getting the story from inside their head and onto the computer screen.
Way back when I was in college, I took a creative writing class after I was unable to get into a mandatory English class. While an avid reader, I was never a confident writer (the curse of dyslexia) and was positive I would hate the class. Armed with the books Bird by Bird, The Elements of Style, and On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, I remember being terrified at the prospect of having to turn in a 100-page novella at the end of the quarter. While my novella was horrid (I found it several years ago while unpacking boxes I had forgotten about, I discovered that creative writing provided me with an outlet where I could be creative without having to be perfect.