I have just changed my Twitter profile to read ‘writer’ rather than ‘aspiring writer.’ You may think this is a small, trivial thing and perhaps it is. But to me its a sign of confidence. In the first class of my masters, last week, we talked about finally having the courage to call yourself a writer. Because that’s what we are. By calling yourself a writer it doesn’t have to intrinsically apply that worrying prefix ‘professional-,’ but you are a writer if you write, right? I forgot to change it last week, but I’ve done it now and strangely it feels encouraging. The next step is to add that prefix. ‘Professional-writer’. The dream.
I have just, also, finished the opening for a story I am submitting for an anthology that will hopefully be published next year. It’s a long way to go, but I intend to go the whole way this time. The editor wanted to see my first one and a half pages and that’s fine, I’m happy to provide so that he can check it and so that I can get advice as I carry on the journey of that particular story. I may tell you more about it soon.
This weeks class was firstly about idea generating and then openings.
Ideas aren’t something I really struggle with. In fact I have a notepad full of stories I would like to write and an hourglass lacking in adequate sand…
But this was a nice exercise and I think it was actually very helpful for creating character conflict. We had three bags containing strips of paper with the following printed on them; one containing characters, one places and the last, actions.
The task was to pick two characters, a place and an action and then write a very brief synopsis tying them all together in a story. The other task was not to worry about some of them being terrible stories. Which was great because some of mine were truly terrible (I think I wrote the word ‘Xfactor’ for one of them, eesh!) But I did come up with a couple of potentials.
After that we talked about openings, how to grab your reader’s attention. It’s not something that I have thought about before, so it was nice to take a look at. I think a good way is with a startling revelation, but I would say that that could end up being overused. It needs to fit the story. I usually, I believe, start with character action, or description, which I must admit, isn’t always that grabbing. Something to think about when I write my next story.
The homework was to chose one of the stories from the exercise and think about where you would open that story. When you start, beginning, middle or end determines what scenes and actions take place in that story and also how much the reader knows. We’re expected to write the opening and hand it in next week.
For mine I chose the story where I drew ‘My father’, which I took license with to be ‘the characters father;’ ‘The rival,’ ‘a disused cinema,’ and ‘the hand that feeds.’ With this I have come up with some kind of gangster story, don’t ask me why. I have already started writing it, but I may post what I submit next week.
Thanks for reading.