Wednesday, 12 October 2011
I need a nom de plume cos Bunty just ain't working for me.
Last night was the first session of my creative writing course which I decided to do to give me something to focus on other than the guest house and work. I had no idea what to expect but had anticipated that the group would all be middle aged ladies with time on their hands. I was wrong.
First up there is a young girl, who has recently quit college, is working in Asda and is writing her first novel, she lives at home with her mum. She speaks really quietly, from behind her hands if she can. Then there’s the guy who has a degree in one thing and a Masters in another but is wanting to work more creatively and is working on a film script but the feedback he is getting is that the structure of his writing isn’t good. Jane* is in her early 30’s, pretty and confident. She has a Law degree and taught English in Beijing for five years before coming back to England. She is now working for one of the large Banks and part of her job requires her to write copy, hence the course, although she is in the process of writing her first novel. Tim has OCD and taking this course is part of his Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Sue is in her late 60’s and wearing brightly coloured skater trainers and a bright red scarf. It is quite apparent that she has some hearing issues and when she reveals that her career has been spent as a singer in a rock band it’s easy to see why, although she doesn’t seem to think there is a problem with her hearing and keeps telling everyone how quietly they speak. She has also worked as a journalist so is taking the course to unleash her more creative side. Finally there is Bunty the middle aged, menopausal housewife who has never written anything and is just doing the course for fun. That last one was me in case you were wondering.
This first session concentrated on grammar, punctuation and some writing rules so I now know where to sling an apostrophe and am avoiding “ for speech as they are old fashioned! Oh and keeping exclamation marks down to a dull roar, apparently they are the canned laughter of the writing world. Finding it hard to resist though, generally I am liberal with my exclamation marks *slaps hand away from keyboard*. I want to write a colon related pun at this point but cant think of one.
I don’t know what I had expected but it wasn’t that we would be giving 40 minutes in which to do a piece of writing. We each had two bits of paper on our desks on one we wrote something or somewhere that was special to us and on the other we wrote a place, nothing too specific. We then held on to our special place or thing and swapped the other. Weirdly the script writer’s special thing was a particular Ferrari and the place he got in the swap was a motorway, my special place was the sea and I got “a beach wedding” in the swap. Whilst what I wrote wont be winning any prizes I was surprised at how easily one word followed another, it was a little unnerving as when I started writing I had no idea how it was all going to hang together but it just seemed to write itself. I could post it as a blog post if anyone thinks that might be interesting?
One thing that I have discovered is that typing makes me write in a much more formal way than writing with pen and paper, the piece I wrote in class was much better than the piece I typed to give in last night. I am re-reading this blog post and thinking it sounds very stiff and not at all like me, might have to resort to writing my blog posts long hand and then typing them up. The course is six weeks long and I intend to post the very first piece I wrote “Open” which I gave in last night and the final piece which will show how much I have improved, or not, at the end of the course. Bet you can hardly wait. (insert your own exclamation mark) btw brackets are passe too, apparently.
*none of these are their real names.