Writing class 101: 4 dramatic elements

Writing Class Lesson 1.1

So the prof—Él Professorino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing— kicks off the old online writing class with four dramatic elements necessary to storytelling: Passion. Theme. Character. Premise.

  • Passion: a strong belief. From the context of the course material, I understand this to be my belief, not my character’s. Hmm…
  • Theme: the message to share with readers. Again, presumably my message, not my character’s.
  • Character: the protagonist, whose personality serves as a vehicle to carry the theme.
  • Premise: which begins with the phrase, “What if?”

All of a sudden, I feel I have no stories to tell. Because the stories I dream about telling aren’t about what I get passionate about. Like, I’m passionate about my kids, but I don’t think they’d make particularly arresting protagonists. I’m super passionate about telling the truth, but who wants to read a story about a prissy pants truth seeker?

How does this strike you guys? Does Él P. think writers want to write a good story, or just propagandize?

I feel like my homework is to shoehorn a passion and a theme into the story ideas I have. When what I really wanted to do was write.

Stay tuned…

Freshman orientation 

  
Hey guys! 

I started an online course today, which looks to be pretty awesome. I have no idea how to tell you how to find it. My library calls them Gale courses and offers them for free. They’re owned by a company called Cengage. Their website is ed2go.com. However you find them, see if you can join! It starts today.

I’m doing Write Fiction Like a Pro, taught by Steve Alcorn— a name I KNOW I know, but haven’t been able to place yet. Whatevs, even the first lesson has proven useful and I’m looking forward to writing novel number two according to an outline, rather than pantsing like the first one. DUDE, I am NOT a pantser. 

Anyhoo when I org my notes later I’ll fill you guys in on the highlights so you can vicariously live out your writerly/educationary dreams. 

Let us know in the comments if you’re in, and look for me, username: Mame.

Crossing the finish line

Today is day 100 of #The100DayProject . I finished. Yay. 

*cue partially inflated helium balloons and off key band.

I feel characteristically underwhelmed. It’s always the way— reaching the end of a project when I should be jumping up and down or popping a champagne cork, but instead I’m shrugging, going, “Eh, it’s over, okay, what next?”

There are 109 days left until NaNoWriMo starts November 1. I think I will do 100 days of illustrated poetry bits (thanks to everyone who commented!), but maybe I won’t start tomorrow. I’ve got nine more days to decide. And some laundry to fold. 

The good news is this time (unlike when I finished my novel OVER A YEAR AGO, ahem) I actually DO have something lined up. I signed on to do a Gale course, Writing Fiction Like a Pro. It starts tomorrow, lasts six weeks, and sounds like a good way to organize my outline for the NaNo novel I have in mind. Best part: several friends from my local writer’s critique group are taking it, too! I will enjoy the camaraderie, and probably need the accountability. 

Do you have some short term goals, writing or otherwise? What are your creative plans?

100 days later 

For the past 93 days I’ve participated in #The100DayProject put on by The Great Discontent on Instagram. My Insta feed is over there somewhere 👉. 

I’ve been learning to watercolor, and it’s been awesome! I’ve even done a few paintings that are actually good. 

When I finished the first draft of my novel last year, I fell into the deep depressing pit of not knowing what to do next. I’ve decided not to let that happen when the 100 Day Project ends next week. I need to line up a new challenge before this one ends. It doesn’t have to be a 100 day thing, but 21 days is not nearly long enough for me to build a true habit, AND I don’t want to think about standing at the edge of the Abyss of Not Knowing again for a good while, AND I kinda sorta have an idea for NaNoWriMo so this needs to carry me until November 1. 

So. Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with. If you have something better, please comment!

100 memories — do I want to focus on the past? 
100 quotes from awesome people, books, songs. Other people are pretty cool. It’d be a curating thing. 

#100happydays — can I choose to be happy (I can choose. But can I actually make it happen?) for 100 days in a row? That’s an awful lot of happiness. 

100 hopes and dreams for the future. I’m not good at saying what I want. Often it’s because I don’t even consider what I would like; I tend to think only about what someone else might want. Sometimes I do know what I’d like, even one hundred things I would like— like a cat, and a bicycle with a basket on the front, and a flat above a bakery in the south of France— but I shy away from speaking them out loud for fear of ridicule or rejection. Dumb, right? 

Was that a dumb question?

100 questions. I’m not always good at asking questions. I ask, but often they’re the wrong questions. I assume. I put words in your mouth. I ask if you feel a certain way, rather than simply, “How do you feel?” I pitch my view by the way my question is worded. So maybe 100 days of practicing asking questions, and thinking of really good ones, would be a smart way to build better habits.

100 days of word play. I do love a good play on words. 

100 snippets of my own poetry, possibly illustrated. I could even watercolor some of them. 

100 bits of micro fiction. Maybe 100 paragraphs of one story. Or a hundred 100-word stories? That would be epic.

Punk says 100 dreams for the future sounds too hard, so I’m kind of gravitating toward that one— not to be rebellious, but I want a challenge! Because if it’s easy, what’s the point? 

Was that a good question? 

What would you do?

from zero to author in 40 years flat

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