As of last night I finished the beginner writing night course that I had been taking, and I feel a sense of relief.
Where does the relief come from? From aspects of the course that I didn’t enjoy, like
- listening to, rather than reading things that other people in the class wrote and then trying to critique. I find that translation of hearing to imagined reading difficult and would much rather look at the writing that I’m critiquing.
- the lack of non-positive comments from the rest of the class. A combination of people not being comfortable doing critiquing and a fear of saying something that hurts someone’s feelings.
- the lack of depth and breadth of comments. Partly this is due to a fairly big class meaning less time for critiques, plus people rarely volunteered comments if the instructor didn’t select them for the mandatory critique.
- lack of energy in the classroom in general. The instructor was an elderly person whose voice was on the soft side. She didn’t generate a lot of energy and neither did much of the rest of the class.
- interference of the last 3 classes with NaNoWriMo for time. Each class plus travel time plus homework time took a good 4-5 hours out of each week.
But I think that I did get what I was looking for from the class.
- review of basic fiction writing elements
- learned about some common writing errors (ly words)
- a review of some of my writing by people that I don’t know, including one person (the instructor) who has lots of experience
- a more indepth review of one piece of writing. We submitted a 10 page work on the 3rd to last week and she reviewed it and returned it to us in the last class. I submitted the first 10 pages of my NaNoWriMo novel from two years ago that I still have hopes of cleaning up and submitting for publication.
And some things that I didn’t expect came out as the course progressed as well. For example, the fact that, when assigned a writing assignment, I don’t automatically write erotica. Or even mention sex. The reason that I find this odd is that everything that I voluntarily wrote between the forced NaNoWriMo of previous years and the forced assignments of this class has been erotica. You mean to say that there’s more to my writing that just sex?
And the fact that I had already done some writing before starting the class somehow seemed obvious? The instructor kept saying that I already know how to write, and asked why I was taking the class. I didn’t feel that my work was significantly better than anything anyone else submitted. It might have been in the top 3 each week out of 8 – 12 readings but I didn’t sense a big difference between what I wrote and what other people wrote.