As I mentioned in my last update, I’ve started at the beginning of February a 10 weeks children’s fiction course run by Jane Mitchell.
I love it and it makes me feel better with all these things that are going on around me. I’m not in a happy mood lately for a series of problems but writing is my personal lifejacket so I’ll grab it and I won’t let it go! I don’t want even to think about what I could do without writing.
Let’s talk about the course! During the first lesson we introduced ourselves and then Jane explained how the course works. All the most important novel topics will be touched and ideally by the end of the course we should have a 5 chapter’s book draft. This is amazing! If this comes true I’ll have three drafts in my computer, one of them finished at least!
The story is about my fantasy world, Sonrisa, once again, but it is set many years before the event of the first book I wrote took place. I don’t say anything more for the moment!
We had homework to do for the following lesson: we had to jot down the writing project and also read a book. I didn’t think I could read a book in one week. Ok, it wasn’t The Lord of the Rings (something that I’m still reading…yes I’m still at the first book since last year…I won’t say it defeated me though! At least so far!) but fairy long: House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones. She’s the English queen of fantasy, full stop and I’m not going to spoil a single word out of the book, you just have to read it! I wish I’ll have such fantasy and ability sooner or later!
I feel proud anyway I managed to reach the goal although at least a couple of people in the group read two or even three books. This is something it’s not likely to happen until I’ll retire! Or until I’ll be a writer able to live of my writing!
The second lesson, we had last week, was about characters. Nice challenge I’d say. The small exercise we did in class was about finding a coat owned by our character and telling five objects we find inside it, in order to describe who he/she is without give any other information. The homework was describing our character eating something, using only food, tools and custom. I’d never tried to think in this way. And, believe me, it was harder than just describe your character in the “standard way”!
I suppose that the rule “show don’t tell” is a bit clearer in my head, but still difficult to apply.
To add some notions more I read chapters about character from Fantasy and Science Fiction by Philip Athans. The odd and nice thing was discovering I was doing some of the right things without knowing I was doing them! Although I know I need a lot of hard work to do I feel good for the find.
Another nice thing about last week. I was home sick, I then decided to follow my partner’s advice and stay in bed at least for one day. At the end of the afternoon I finished to read one whole book. Nothing big, fantasy book for young adults, but still I remember that I was in high school the last time I did that! I felt good!
Finally on Tuesday I went to the third lesson. We touched the setting and its influence on the character. How the character perceive the setting according to his/her emotions. As homework we have to write about the perception of the same environment by a character in two opposite situations! That will be fun!
I love Jane’s style of teaching. Every time I attend a different course I learn something more and something different. I just feel awkward at times, because I’m the only non-English speaker but this is the path I’ve chosen so I have to live with it and give my best!!!
Talk to you soon!