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Writing Class Yays and Woes

Writing Class Yays and Woes

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Sleeping Beauty
My new writing class started last Thursday and in some ways I was delighted with it.  In other ways, not so much.

Okay, first and formost - I LOVE my instructor.  She's smart and cool and enthusiatic and fun.  All the things I could ever hope for in a writing instructor.  Also, she's not at all afraid to tell you exactly what she thinks of your writing, but she does it so enthusiastically that you come out feeling flattered rather than offended.  For example, I submitted Chapter 18 of Bonded and Broken to the class to be critiqued.  The instructor didn't know about fanfiction and when I explained it to her the response I got back was - "You mean you write stories and post them on the internet for people to read for FREE?  You've got to stop doing that!  Write something original and get paid for it!  You're too good for that."

So wow!  That was majorly flattering even though she basically discounted everything I'd been doing up to this point.

There are seven people in the class and at first I thought it was going to be a really great mix.  Two of the guys from my beginners class decided to take this class and I'm really excited to continue working with them both.  The rest of the class is new to me; most of them came from different beginners classes.  They are all women and I was hopeful they would be able to relate to my writing style.

However, one of the women shreded my chapter.  She circled every single sentence and paragraph that didn't have action or dialogue in it and said she thought the story would be better without them.  Any thought or feeling Dean had was a waste of space.  She obviously doesn't get me or my writing style AT ALL.  To me, the emotions are the reason for telling the story.  The action and the case!fic are the background, but the connection between the boys is the story.

During class, we aren't allowed to defend ourselves while our writing is being critiqued.  I can understand that because no one would want to offer feedback if they thought they were going to get their head chewed off.  So I just had to sit there and listen while she told me that most of my writing was detracting from the story.  I've been stewing about it ever since and I don't know what to do about it.  I'm not planning on changing my style and that means that every class I'm probably going to get the same types of comments from her.

I know somehow it will all work out.  I had the same reservations at the beginning of the last class and ended up loving it and every one of my classmates.  :-)  I just needed to rant a bit.
  • First, I'm glad you love your instructor.
    Second, please don't stop writing Fan Fiction!
    Third, the critical woman is an idiot.

    Edited at 2012-02-27 04:40 pm (UTC)
    • First, Yes! She's great!
      Second, I enjoy writing it way too much to stop so no worries there.
      Third, thank you for saying so. I'm thinking I'll add a note to the beginning of my next submission explaining my writing style a little and hope that gets the message across. My skin is way too thin I think.
  • All that woman is doing is demonstrating her personal taste - don't worry about it. It is quite useful to have someone who has completely different styles and tastes check over your stuff, but not a signal that you need to change anything unless you think she is the exact audience you are hoping to hit with your stories.

    I think you kind of know that already from what you are saying - and clearly the person to take advice from about anything drastic about changing your style is the tutor!
    • It is interesting to see the different writing styles and to get new perspectives. She is obviously not my intended audience and I can't change my style for her because I would be left with very little left of what I love about writing.

      I found it to be really funny when one of the guys who was in my previous class as well as this one told me he was glad to see more about Sam and Dean. I let out a loud snort because he's definitely not my intended audience as he doesn't even watch the show and is a GUY so not really into the emotional aspect of a story. It was so nice of him to say so anyway.
  • (no subject) -
    • You're right, you're right, I know you're right. (When Harry Meet Sally anyone? Anyone?) I don't expect everyone to like my writing, I know there are tons of people who are not interested in the slightest. And that's perfectly all right. Hopefully, the classes will evolve and we'll all get to know each other better and we will be able to critique each other's writing in a helpful and constructive way. I fully expect to be writing a post in a couple of weeks about how much I adore my classmates. That's actually why I wanted to post my little temper tantrum - so I can hopefully look back at it and be in awe at how far we've come as a group of very different people who all have something very important to offer.

      You are the voice of reason, hun. That's why I always value your input. *hugs*
  • I'm glad you really like your instructor, she sounds really cool. She sounds like someone who would really help advancing peoples writing skills. Your class mates are interesting, they certainly will give a whole different propective on your stories.
    • I think she will be extraordinary and I expect to learn a great deal from her.

      Hey, if I can learn to appreciate and enjoy the story one of my classmates is writing backwards (yes, the story is being writen backwards so the first thing you read is the epilogue) then there is hope for us all. My classmates are very interesting.
      • Yes, that would be very interesting, to read a story backwards. I myself would have a very hard time trying to write something like that.
  • I've always thought the trick to being a good critiquer is to recognize that though other people may write differently than what you would prefer, it doesn't necessarily make it wrong. If it's a style you don't like, fine, not everybody likes the same thing. It sounds like your classmate might not see beyond her own personal preferences and hopefully that'll change as the class progresses.
    Good that you've got a cool teacher... except for her saying that you shouldn't post stories on the net - absolutely don't listen to her about that. :)
    • I explained to her how rewarding it was to get all the feedback from posting stories to websites like LJ and FF.net. I'm not sure I completely convinced her but I think she was intrigued.

      I think things will get better, although we only have 5 more classes, one every other week and that's not much time to get to know one another since the class time goes by really quickly with all the story discussion and there's little time for chit-chat.

      Guess I'll just have to see how it goes.
  • Well hon, you can rant as much as you want, I always feel better afterwards. Just promise me one thing, however this new class will work out, do NOT change your style of writing, please!

    First of all it's important that you like your instructor and hey, I think I also told you that you should write professionally and make money with it, didn't I ? ;-)

    Second, this woman probably has no clue at all about SPN and what this show is about - the brotherly bond and lots of emotions. So this is only her opinion, but we all adore your style and how you write about the brothers. I wish they would show more of the emotional side on the show, but as long as you have this covered in your stories I won't complain.

    I can imagine that it must be hard to go to the next class and expect to hear another comment like this from her, but still, try to enjoy the rest and ignore her as best as you can.

    And again, never ever change your style! *hugs*
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