Thursday, June 5, 2014

Novel Workshop Day 4

I woke up this morning to seriously dark skies, lightning and rain. I also woke up with a migraine, which meant, no matter the weather, I had to trudge up to the KU Union for coffee. The caffeine does a better job for me than any medicine of curing a headache. An hour later, the headache is fading. I hope it's not a sign of more headaches to come.

Yesterday was the first of two sessions during this workshop in which we tackled my project. Rather than be deflating, the discussion was fun and eye-opening. My notebook is full of details that I won't get into here. The three main points I came away with:
  • I haven't yet done enough work on my worldbuilding. I have a lot of questions in my notebook in regards to the magic system I've created.
  • I need to (almost) completely rethink one of my two main characters, who at this point in the process is pushed around a lot but doesn't make things happen.
  • The aspect of my project that my instructors and classmates latched onto the most is newspapers/journalism. I'm too close to my own profession to think that the details are interesting, but for people who don't work in a newsroom, it's a different world and one well worth exploring. Just ask Aaron Sorkin. This is an exciting revelation to me. I'm passionate about journalism and the need to preserve newspapers and their unique role in society in a world that is increasingly moving toward a 24/7, social media-based news cycle. This project can become an opportunity for me to explore and share that passion without hitting readers over their heads with "message" anvils. Because, ouch.
I have an assignment for the week that is due Sunday night. I'm more excited about my project now than I was 24 hours ago. Even though I will be starting over (almost) from scratch.

And, of course, I'm also learning from the discussions of my classmates' projects. Everyone here is so creative and smart. We all bring different strengths and interests to the table.

I am disappointed with myself about one thing. I didn't know before coming to the workshop that I had to provide written critiques for my classmates on their outlines and chapters. This is my fault. If I had stopped to think for 10 seconds, I would have realized the obviousness of this. So now I'm paying the price. I have been rereading everyone's submission and writing critiques during my free time instead of relaxing or working on my own writing. Last night, I was in my room writing one of the critiques while my classmates were gathered in a common area watching a movie. Their frequent bouts of raucous laughter reached me through the air vents. Whatever they were watching must have been hilarious.

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