This is going to be a bit of an update on my writing course, as I haven’t had much of a chance to do one before.
Next Thursday is going to be our final session together as a group and, it’s fair to say that I’m going to miss this very much once it’s over. This course was supposed to have ended by now but, as we had to cancel one week, we’re fortunately able stay on a little bit longer and to make up for that lost time.
To be truthful, I only began writing mine (aiming for 3,000 words) about one week before! I know, I know… Up to the weekend, I managed to accumulate 1,500 words but, I was becoming quite disillusioned with what I had written and where this might be going so, on Monday night (after writing a bit more following my day out), I e-mailed it to my tutor for some feedback.
My story concerns a journey to Australia to briefly reacquaint with a long-lost best friend. There is some truth to this, as my last best friend moved to Australia back in 1995 and, since finishing school, I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to make that journey some day. It would almost be a waste of time now though, as he’s since moved to Vietnam!
This brings something else to my mind… I actually became stuck with this story on Sunday night, with less than 1,000 words on the screen. Suddenly, out of the blue, I get a message from him on Facebook, leading to a conversation that lasts for an hour! It was like we’d not grown apart. We still found and shared immediate common ground, in spite of all this time lost and the many miles that physically separate us. I struggle to hold basic conversations with people I see on a daily basis at work. It’s curious how things work out sometimes… Communicating with him about all sorts prompted me to add another 500 words to my pages.
Wednesday night came and I still hadn’t heard back from my tutor. I went online after work, feeling tired but determined to add some lines to the text and to at least come close to an ending. But, my laptop was proving to be unresponsive in just about every situation; no matter what or when I loaded something (hence, my recent absence). I couldn’t add to it and I couldn’t even open or access the file to print or copy it to another location or device. Panic should’ve set in but, at the same time, I saw this as a welcome ‘excuse’ to not have to share my three unfinished, unedited pages… I was actually hoping for severe snowfall but, this seemed like a safer bet.
On Thursday evening, I briefly stopped off at home before heading to my class and tried the laptop again, after a night of running safe mode and virus scans. I think I managed to get as far as opening the text document but, it was at this point that it all went a bit AWOL. Not that I was ‘intending’ to print it out, anyway. I’d e-mailed my tutor the previous night to explain my difficulties. As far as I was concerned; I had my excuse…
I still headed in to Bristol that night and parked up feeling terrible, stoked full of guilt for having nothing to share. ‘If only I’d stated writing sooner… I’m going to let them all down…‘ Once sat in the class, my tutor did ask and offered to print off the half-complete draft I had sent him, to which I obliged – everyone else clearly had something to share and so, I just decided to get on and have a go. Clearly, my tutor was satisfied with what I had written (I did hear back from him late on the Wednesday night but, to be fair, it was too late anyway). What did I have to fear?
So, eventually my turn came and I tried my best to read with some enthusiasm in my voice. I stuttered and stumbled very slightly at times (as most did) but, it came across well, even though I seem to talk at an accelerated pace no matter how much I try to slow myself down. I created a couple of laughs along the way and, after reaching my ‘end’, I noticed a bit of a silent delay before the applause came in. Perhaps this is the way every reader felt. Or, as my story wasn’t finished, perhaps people weren’t expecting me to end there (we were asked not to explain anything about the story before reading).
People seem to be drawn in to my ‘intimate’ style of writing and it was great to hear how everyone in the class seemed to bring in a style of their own. There’s a strong sense of friendship with the memories and people were wanting to know more about the conflict that divided us briefly before his departure. To be honest with you, I can’t remember what it was either! But, I know who was responsible. Maybe that’s a good thing, as this is supposed to be a fictional piece, after all.
Writing about a journey where a large portion involves sitting on a plane has been about as difficult as you might imagine. That’s why the memories, thoughts and feelings are important. My tutor advised that it’s not necessary to go too deep in to any on-plane interactions with people although, a little bit now and again wouldn’t hurt (I thought of Forest Gump, at this point, as he’s sat on the bench telling his story to a different person each time).
One day, yes, I will finish and I will share this story with you.
Will it be here on the blog? I’m not sure.
I have aspirations to publish my own work and, this could prove to be a good starting point. Many questions remain about the best way to do this, even though the internet appears to open up a wealth of self-publishing and marketing opportunities.
As it’s only a short story and not a novel, should I attempt to publish it alone? Or, would I be better off releasing it as more of an anthology with several others? …If so then, how many?
Thanks for reading. I’m still facing a long weekend stuck at home but, I aim to keep myself occupied by simply writing. Most of it will remain private but, if I create any poems in this time then, you can be sure you’ll get to read about them here. 🙂
For our final week, we’re required to bring in a piece of writing that we like. The e-mail said from an author we like but, I hope it just means the writing, as there’s something my friend shared with me recently that I felt I could relate to, even though I haven’t known her that long. You know I like her – that’s no secret! 😉 But, she’s not an “author” in the same sense of many others; that’s all I was concerned about when I read the e-mail.
- So You Want to Write a Short Story (Part 2: Taking Action) (theartistrycollective.wordpress.com)
- Writing Challenge: The Short Story (theevolvingdad.wordpress.com)
- Short Story Contests: December (pinionpost.com)
- Writer’s Block – Now What? (kevinpbarker.wordpress.com)
- Passionate about Short Fiction (kasiajames.wordpress.com)
- More Rules I Write By (crimsonleague.com)