I finished my first and so far my only writing workshop in December and it was such an amazing experience I highly recommend it for anyone who has a local writer’s guild available .
There will be more Bonded and Broken coming soon, but in the meantime I wanted to document my adventures in writing workshops because I will be digging deep to try to find some courage on January 16th when I will be reading out loud from one of my stories. Also, the next workshop starts in February and I have already signed up.
First, let me just say that when I walked into the classroom for my first writing workshop I had no idea what to expect other than that I knew the class was small – 6 participants, 1 instructor. The instructor explained that each student needed to write during the week and e-mail their writing samples to the rest of the class, giving the other participants and the instructor time to read and be prepared to critique everyone else’s stories during class. Well, that would be great if all the students liked the same type of writing or at least could appreciate the different writing styles. It didn’t take more than one week to figure out that the six students in my class couldn’t have been any more far apart as far as writing styles go if we had tried. The class was made up as follows:
- A high school girl with a marvelous imagination who only liked science fiction with tons of action. She had a very short attention span and liked to write story ideas consisting on a couple of paragraphs after which she would get bored and more on to the next story idea.
- A college student who wrote brilliant descriptive passages. He wrote in a style I had never heard of before and I’m still not sure exactly what it’s called, something like modernistic minimalist. It felt a lot like reading poetry when I read his stories because they were so beautiful, but I had to read each line over and over again to get the meaning.
- An ICU doctor in her forties who wanted to write a series of medical stories based loosely on her own experiences. She was very factual and admitted that she had a hard time making her stories more interesting instead of sounding like a medical journal. She was a great resource for any medical information though and I’m hoping to use her expertise in the future when Dean gets injured.
- A guy in his late twenties who was in the process of writing a graphic novel. Towards the end of the class he decided he was going to make his story into a comic book instead. His story was about a race of super heroes who had super strength and mind control powers as well as giving off pheromones that made everyone around them swoon.
- Another guy in his late twenties who was writing a story backwards so that the first chapter was actually the end of the story. He was like a genius or something and I was always so embarrassed to have to tell him that his story lost me every week. Not only was there no context to what was happening but he didn’t like to give information on who was talking in his dialogue so there would be a bunch of dialogue and you had to guess who was saying what.
- Me. You might already be familiar with my writing. I like deep emotional stories with strong relationships.
Now, try to imagine what it would feel like to submit writing to this diverse group of people and wait to hear what they were going to say about it. The funny thing was that when the class started and we had to tell each person in the class what we liked and what we didn’t like about their stories almost everyone started off – “Well, I wouldn’t normally read something like this, but…” However, by the end of the nine week class, we had all broadened our horizons and I can honestly say that I appreciate each and every one of those people as amazing writers and wonderful people. I miss our classes together so much which is why I signed up for the next workshop.The January 16th reading is going to be at a restaurant with anyone from the Fall classes who wants to read getting up in front of the entire restaurant and reading something that they wrote. It’s not something I feel comfortable with at all, but it’s supposed to be a good experience. So, we’ll see about that. I think I’m going to read an excerpt from The Dope that We Smoke, probably the part where Sam and Dean are fighting the Blink Bear. Wish me Luck! I’m going to need it.