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Writing Workshop

Writing Workshop

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Sleeping Beauty

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:

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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. 
  6. 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.
  • Oh you are brave! NOt so much for doing the course but the reading out loud bit - eeek! Once of my phobias is 'performing' in public!
    Good luck with that, I'm sure you'll do fine.
    • I know, I'm really a very shy, introverted person, but my instructor said that this is the type of opportunity that rarely comes along and I thought I might as well get as much out of the class as I possibly can. I'm going to be very nervious though. In fact, I already am!!!

      Thanks for the well wishes!
  • that's my birthday - so I think it is a perfect day for you to read your work!!!! *hugs* I'm so proud of you!
    • Hey there sweetie! I'll have to remember it's your birthday and imagine that you are in the audience rooting for me. That will definitely help!

      Thank you so much! Just seven more months until VanCon!!! I can't wait to see you.
      • I'm excited already! did you see that Kim Rhodes is coming ? :)
        • Oh my god, I am flipping out right now!!!! Honestly, I hadn't even gone to look at who was going to be there until just this moment and, and, and...oh my god!!! We are so lucky, the convention is gonna be so awesome! The quest line up in out of this world! And they got Steve Carlson for the concert!!! I'm so excited, I can hardly stand it.
  • That sounds amazing. I've just found a creative writing class at the local adult ed. and am definitely signing up.

    Whoa...good for you for standing up and reading aloud. Public speaking has always been one of my biggest phobias, but I've done it on occasion and it's always worked out fine.

    Good luck with the reading and with your next workshop!

    Just for information, how do you go about finding a local writers guild?
    • I was lucky in finding the writers guild I am taking my workshops from - I did a Google search for writing classes in my area and they popped right up. They have a wide diversity of classes and workshops offered throuhout the year, a nice little building in the artistic district of town where they are spported by the other businesses (which is why the restaurant is letting us come in and take over for a night), and a great group of instructors.

      The nice thing about belonging to a writers guild I am finding out is that not only are the people willing to share their knowledge but they offer a great social outlet. The group I am involved with has weekly happy hours and coffee get togethers for anyone who wants to come.

      Thanks hun!
  • Good for you, good luck on the 16th and for the next workshop.
    • Hey there!

      Thank you for the well wishes. I'm going to be so nervous. I've been trying not to think about it, but now its only a week away and I'm going to have to pick what I'm going to read and practice it a couple of times before I get up there.

      How are you liking the Season of SN so far?
      • I'm really liking it a lot. My own opinion is that it is so much better than last seasons. How are you liking it and let me know how your reading goes and what story you picked to read. (cheers you on)
        • I'm loving the season so far. Did you see last Friday's episode? The last scene was amazing, Jensen is such a fantastic actor, but that's all I'll say about that.

          I'll let you know how the reading goes. Thanks for the cheers!

          The convention is going to be the best one ever. See my squeeeeeee in my response to Cha. I can't wait to see you there!
  • I am so, so proud of you, sweetie. I know the reading will go great. :)
    • Yay, I think it'll be fun in a really scary way. A couple of us from the workshop are getting a table together so we can cheer for each other and my mom, husband and two boys are all coming as well. So - no pressure or anything. Hahahaha.
  • I'm glad you enjoyed the class and that you keep on going, hon !
    You know that I admired your writing style from the very beginning and I'm always amazed what you do with every new chapter of my story (you're the best beta in the world!) but I'm also curious to find out how your style might have changed after this class ... ?
    Kudos for a reading like that, I would never be able to do something like that. I wish you all the luck in the world and I know you're gonna be awesome *hugs*
    • Hey Sweetie,

      I don't think my writing style changed much at all, but I think about things differently now. One of the students in my class, the ICU doctor, would always ask questions about how realistic certian scenes were. She kept the rest of us grounded in a way and so now I think about her when I'm writing and I wonder - would I be able to explain this to Mary and make her believe that it could actually happen this way or do I need to tweek it to be more realistic.

      Awww, you know how much I love being your beta! You help fulfill my hurt/comfort cravings. LOL

      Thank you so much. I'll let you know how the reading goes.

      *hugs you back*
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