Well, two weekends have come and gone without a single post from me, which shows how busy they are keeping us here :)
Paul Park’s week flew by. Instead of writing a full story for him to critique, we did a setting sketch, a character sketch, and a plot outline. He would read some of the sketches to us in class and we talked about them. It was lovely to deconstruct a story into these elements and really focus in on what does and doesn’t work. The other nice thing about the exercises is it got us into the habit of writing for deadlines–we were turning in an exercise every day for the first few days, so we really had to hit the ground running. Paul also read us published examples (stories) for many of the things that we talked about in class, and he has a wonderful reading voice. Unfortunately, by the end of Week 1 I’d caught the cold that was going around (sleep deprivation sure will take out your immune system!), so I didn’t manage to make it to the party, and I had to really push to get a story submitted for Sunday, which was the day that I signed up for. It all worked out though, I just needed to spend a big chunk of Friday and Saturday sleeping to recover.
Next up was Maureen McHugh. Week 2 was our first week doing the normal Clarion critique circle thing, and I think it went pretty well. There is definitely a lot to be learned from reading and critiquing a lot of manuscripts, and my classmates are a very talented bunch (at writing and critting)! Maureen also did some writing exercises with us to help spark story ideas and give us some options to try out if we get stuck on a story that we’re working on (e.g., try adding a stranger). Then all of a sudden Maureen’s week was over (had I blinked, I would have missed it, time moves so fast here at Clarion!). On Saturday a bunch of us went out canoeing, which was a lot of fun. I have to remember to get out of the house more often. And at some point I need to start getting more sleep.
That’s it for now…