Sunday, May 2, 2010

Learning your Craft

So, I've been under the radar for the last month or so due to school starting and, more so, a horrible back injury. I was bedridden for a couple of weeks and while you would think I should have been able to get tons of work don, this was not actually the case. I couldn't sit up for 3 weeks and typing while flat on my back was just plain hard. But, I managed and now I'm doing better. Still sore and all that but I can sit for long periods of time and get work done.

As I mentioned, I started school during my absence. I'm earning my master's in creative writing and I may go on to earn my PhD. We'll see about that. At any rate, I turned in the first two chapters of my novel, Land of No Angels for critique. Now, this is a graduate level class, so the expectations are high, but in general the response has been good so far. I definitely have things to work on and my classmates gave me plenty of things to think about. I'm pleased because I feel like I'm finally on the right path, not just with my book, but with myself. I know that once I finish this book, it will be publishable and that thrills me. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect it will be easy, I just believe that at some point this story will be worth publishing so many others can enjoy it.

Other things we've done so far in this class are weekly writing exercises. One of the recent exercises had us write a 150-300 word narrative using sentences with a max of 7 words in it. That one was devistating when I did it. The second part of that assignment was to write another narrative or the same story (I chose the same) up to 300 words long using only 1 sentence. I will never understand why anyone needs a 300 word sentence, but this part of the exercise seemed a little more like how I naturally write with long and short lines. For fun, I will post it here.

Leslie ducked behind a tree, narrowly missing three whizzing arrows to the chest; he scrambled to run deeper into the thick forest and regretted getting caught stealing the precious Kalic amulet, but knew it would be worth it to trade in order to get Aurora back; besides, getting into a Kalic prison was easy, getting out alive was not so much; several towering Amazon-like women chased after him; he used the thought of Aurora’s warm, sweet skin and her large brown eyes which seemed to encompass Lesley’s entire soul in rapture to motivate him, pushing past dry shrubs and rotting, fallen trees; a fourth warrior woman dropped down from a tree in front of Lesley’s escape route with a fiery arrow in her bow; it was too late for him to dodge the blazing projectile and in a single shot to the chest—right through the heart—he went up in flames, shrieks of pain cut through the early morning air.

It ended up being 159 words long. If I saw this in a book, I'd either skim it or stop reading the book entirely, even though I know this sort of sentencing happened a lot a long time ago.

We also did an exercise in class where we had to write without any adjectives or adverbs. It was a serious nightmare. Adverbs are easy to keep out for me because I try not to use them anyway, but adjectives! Noooooo! The exercise wanted us to think outside the box for ways to describe things without depending on adverbs, which I think are crutches, and adjectives, which are important even though sometimes people abuse them. The exercise made me realise how dear to me adjectives are.

I recommend either of these exercises to those who are having trouble coming up with something to write. [Reader Interaction] If you try either of these, feel free to link me to them or post them in a comment! If you have any other good exercises, please share them!

1 comment:

  1. you need a dictaphone, so you can dictate and computer will type for you. ;)