Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Starting from Scratch

I have once again neglected this blog... oops.

Anyway, my WFC class is still lovely, although there is one part that's not so great: the grad students. WFC is a combined undergrad/grad class. Even last year, I would have found this daunting, but I don't feel that the grad students have that much more experience than I do in this class' speciality. One thing about the grad students, though, is that most of them are teachers themselves. This, apparently, makes them think that they have a free pass to talk ALL THE TIME. I don't mean give their opinions a lot or dominate conversations; I'd be fine with that. No, I mean that they whisper and giggle through every class.

It's no secret that I'm a bit of a nerd and a bit of a teacher's pet, but I don't really think I'm being either when I say that this is distracting and very rude to our professor. Sometimes there are so many of them conversing behind me (because, of course, that's where they all sit) that I really can't hear the professor, and I can tell she gets distracted by them sometimes, too. I'm not sure why they think it's acceptable behavior. I get that they're teachers, but in my mind, that means they would understand how distracting they're being. Would they allow that in their own classrooms? I highly doubt it. Sadly, I don't have the nerve to turn around and tell them to shut it.

Besides my irritating graduate classmates, I'm still loving WFC. We did an exercise about beginning a story in which we had to write three different beginnings going off of the same prompt. It was really interesting and I liked my results. I was hoping to get that back today, but we had to use the same prompt result for this past week's exercise. On this one, I didn't do too well. See, I have two problems. One is that, as I'm sure I've mentioned, I am horrible at writing on demand. I'm all about making myself write even when I don't want to, and I'm not a slave to a muse. I do find it difficult to write when I have to start from scratch for a specific assignment, though. My brain goes into panic mode and I can't think of anything.

This time around, there was the added difficulty of taking the beginning I'd already created and plotting out the novel that would result from that composition. The beginning I had written was not novel-length worthy. It was probably more short-story worthy or, to be honest, just exercise worthy. There wasn't enough conflict presented in the intro to merit an entire novel, and I couldn't fathom one that I could just make up. I started work on that assignment the day I got it. A week later (meaning last night at 11 pm), I still had next to nothing.

So what did I do?

Oh, just threw in a random road trip. Yeah... I felt pretty crappy handing that in to my professor. I guess it was better than giving her nothing.

I also was almost denied being able to use my WIP as my to-be-critiqued piece. I asked my professor today how long she wanted the required synopsis to be and she told me that she would prefer I wrote something original for the class. Thankfully, I think my telling her that it is still very much a WIP (as opposed to a novel I finished over the summer or something along those lines) made a difference, and she's letting me use it, thank God. At least for this novel, I know exactly what's going to happen for the rest of the book (well, in general...) so I can easily write an outline for this one.

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