Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Welcome to England

Today I can sigh with relief and bask myself in the glory that is internet. In case anyone thinks this is an overreaction…try living without internet for over a week while you’ve just moved to another country. Not fun. At all.
It turns out though, that living next to a pub has its advantages, other than the obvious.
It has free wi-fi and if I sit on the right spot on the stairs, the internet fairy manages to sprinkle some of her internet dust my way. It’s quite uncomfortable to sit on the stairs and skype with your parents, because we all know those conversations aren’t over in just a few minutes. But it’s worth it. Especially since they can’t stalk me through my phone. Apparently I need a British simcard first. Luckily I’ve already made friends and I’m getting help in that department. So simcard is on the way. I’m getting closer to the blisfull state of being reachable everywhere.
Now for the subject of my classes. Writing. Ah yes, getting to write throughout the year instead of listening to boring lectures about stuff you forget after an hour, a day if you’re lucky. THE dream for any writer. My first class is on Monday at 1 PM and I have it every other week (that’s right, I have a lot of spare time on my hands). It’s called the Creative Writing Project. It means you get to work on your personal pet project for twelve weeks, working with fellow students who critique your work (gently) and a teacher who guides you along the way in individual tutorials. Can you say awesome? Because I can and I’m saying it right now.
I’ve had people who read my stuff and commented on it, but not writers and not people whom you won’t feel guilty about asking to read your stuff because you’re afraid it will just take up their time and they do it to be nice. This time I know everyone wants to read it and you know you want to read other people’s stuff. Because writing is just as important to you as it is to everyone else. At least, I hope so.
There was also a free writing exercise which existed of the teacher writing down five subjects and us writing about each of them, spending about three minutes tops on each subject. I must say that it does make the creative juices flow. 
Fiction 1 is my other class and it is as cool as it sounds. It’s on Wednesdays at 11 PM. And yes, these are my only classes in the week. It makes sense though, writing isn’t done through lectures, it’s done by doing it. Hmm, how profound.

Skipping ahead to two days in the future…
Just had Fiction 1 today, which is now my favourite class :) It started out with the basic information and stuff we need to know but we also did a writing exercise that involved plotting. Basically you get a sheet with things like: Write a question that interests you. Now write something you think is funny. What special skill do you have? Make up a title of a novel, just off the top of your head. Where would it be set?
Then you move on to the characters. You have space for four characters and you write down something you are or have been behind each character. I’m guessing because you should always write what you know, so you’re characters must be something you can relate to and understand. Then you write an emotion with each character that you’ve recently felt. Then you write an exciting or interesting event, followed by a boring event. Lastly you write down an animal, object or plant that you find interesting. Then you tie all these elements together to write a coherent plot. The challenge is that you make sure everything is in there. Also, it’s FUN! So try it.
Next to writing 500 words every week we also have to write about the books we read and keep a rough notebook where we jot down interesting things we see in detail. Catching every detail is the most important thing. Also, it needs to be factual observation only. I usually have a little bit of trouble with describing in detail, also because I’m afraid it destracts from the real story and I just want to focus on that. So I’m glad we get to do this, because it’s the details that make up the realness of the world.
That’s it for now and I will leave you with one final tip that I really loved: start every story with a question.