What on earth possesses some of you I ask myself? To decide to write a novel, and to do it in one month? I know many of you have signed up to Nanowrimo, and some of you have even made it past the first week. Wow.
I have been greatly enjoying reading your posts about your efforts such as on the blog of Empty nest full life, whose book I would love to read when she finishes it (because I have every faith in her) and also a mad fellow Irish blogger who writes At the airing cupboard, I can only imagine her novel, as it is rare to find a really funny blog such as hers. Her creative process seems to include chocolate, so I can only hope she doesn’t run dry.
Anyway not to be outdone as I told you all recently, I too have signed up, not for nanowrimo but for an online short story course at fish publishing, and guess what… I am loving it!
The first assignment arrived and as I explained before, it was a case of, ‘Dear Jesus, what on earth am I being asked here?‘.I read my assignment in the morning when I was fresh.. Mmmm not sure what to do. I read it quickly while waiting to collect my children from something or other… Mmmmm not sure what to do, and finally I read it after a glass of wine.. Mmmm this is easy! Eventually I knew what I was being asked but then I had to come to terms with tabs and headers. By the time I had those sorted it was time for more wine!
Normally when I write I write with gay abandon. I rarely edit until I am finished and I just let my thoughts flow, as if I was chatting. However that is not the clever way to approach ‘homework’. Not wishing to cast aspersions on those of you who read my blog, but this was going to be read by an expert no less.This person would be commenting and providing me with ‘feedback’. My assignment was to critique a short story. I was clever enough to know I would have to say more than ‘I liked this story’. As I wrote my critique I over thought every single word. ‘Are you allowed begin a sentence with that word?’ ‘Is this a new paragraph?”Does this sentence make any sense at all?’,’What about my spelling?’. Not to mention trying not to make it obvious, that I had in truth gone to another tutor,one named google,in order to try to understand what on earth was being asked. I mean pace, point of view, narrative perspective. Finally it was done. I was finished. I only had to send it off.
Yes just press ‘send’. But I couldn’t. I re read it twenty times and then decided the only thing I could do was to write a cover note trying to beg forgiveness for my lack of expertise. For two days I continued to hover over the send button. Eventually deep breath, and a glass of vino, (I know I too am seeing a pattern here) I pressed it.
Phew! I had finished my first ‘homework but I didn’t feel in any way elated or even happy. Instead I felt embarrassment and fear. Someone would read my work and then comment on it. Why did I decide to do this course? I knew it was too much for me. I am an adult, with a busy life, why would I put myself through this? For the next three days I lived in fear of gmail, and then the inevitable happened. The reply came. Bing.
Deep breath, and I opened it. What a lovely surprise. I received wonderful, helpful, encouraging feedback. By the time I had finished reading it and looking at my new assignment I wanted to put my children up for adoption, so I could just sit down and begin my new module ‘characterisation’ and ‘dialogue’. Sadly there was no getting rid of those children, and there was a husband there too. As a result I have not had the opportunity to get stuck in as much as I would like. However it is filling my thoughts. I am never alone. As I drive around I am getting to know my main character. Why is he the way he is? What is his mother thinking? Where is his father? What happened his brother? (he is annoying me I think I’m going to kill him). This is a whole new world for me, and thanks to fish publishing I am enjoying it hugely.
Maybe next year I will take part in the madness that is nanowrimo but for this year I will be content with my online short story writing and embracing the challenges it is sending me.
I’ll keep you posted.