Monday, February 7, 2011

Writing Assignments

I am totally loving my writing class. In spite of the fact that my instructor *sometimes* doesn't wear a bra, and in spite of the fact that she doesn't pronounce words correctly nor uses good diction, she is a pretty good writing teacher. I have her for "Intro to Writing Fiction" and I absolutely love that class.

Over the years people would tell me I should "get published", as if it were something easy to do. I mean we "get" up in the morning. We "get" dressed. We "get" to go places. And sometimes we "get" to have our cake and eat it too. So, why not "get" published? Well, unless I choose to self-publish, it isn't that simple.

First of all, I don't have any credentials. Secondly, I do not have an agent. Thirdly, I don't have the money to self-publish. And lastly -- there are tons of unsolicited manuscripts sent to editors each day. So, the likelihood of me "getting" published? My guess would be slim to none at this point. I figure the English degree will help with that, at least the credentials part. The rest? Well, we'll just have to wait and see.

One reason I like my instructor is because she challenges us, gets us to stretch our thinking - which is what you want to do if you're going to write fiction. For example, one assignment was to write a story about anything, in first-person, and from the perspective of the opposite sex. That was a little challenging, since I am not a man and do not know how men think. But to trying to convince the readers that the "voice" was a man's was sort of fun. For another assignment she had us write in pen across the top of our papers, "One topic I wouldn't be interested in writing about is ____________". I wrote down "Futuristic Warfare". Then, we had to spend 20 minutes in class writing a story with that theme. It was hard at first. But I found that I could work around the technicalities a bit and then it wasn't so bad.

The assignment that has been the hardest by far is this. 1) Write a 2-4 pg story on any topic. 2) Write yourself in as the main character, using your own name and keeping true to all of your physical characteristics and personality traits. 3) All other elements, ie setting, other characters, story line, etc., must be completely fictional. This may not be autobiographical in any way.

When I read the assignment, it didn't LOOK hard. But when I sat down to write it -- ahh! I always draw on my personal experiences for stories. And although my characters are similar to me in many ways, I usually make them better than me - more successful, more beautiful, more powerful, etc. So, essentially this is like plucking myself out of my current life and putting myself into a totally different plot and then writing about it.

It's due tomorrow. I am having a little bit of fun with it, but it's just a bit harder. Does it seem that hard to you? What story would you write yourself into if you could?

8 comments:

Susie said...

You are a good writer! I have confidence that you will do fine:-)

Deborah said...

Ooh, that is tough! My first thought was "So easy, just set me down in the middle of Tahrir Square last week" ... but that would be somewhat autobiographical ... I'm not even sure how to come up with a non-autobiographical starting point!

The Blonde Duck said...

Everyone tells me to get published too. Sigh.

KiennaP said...

You'll do fine! just don't give up. Oooooh, you should post some of your writing on here so we could read it!

Puphigirl said...

Yeah, can we read some of your assignments?

I really liked that cookie said...

I would probably be on a faraway island. Washed up by the sea as a baby from a lost ship. Then living and growing up with the population... wait, that's tarzan?

mrbusdr said...

Abandoned by tourists and raised by wild hogs in Iowa.

RhondaLue said...

I would write myself into a story where I had a maid. And could go pee in peace and quiet. And where the phone doesn't ring nonstop. Yahhhhh sounds GOOOOOOD! lol