Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back Home Again

Now that I'm home it's harder to make myself do things again. It's like this place is made of molasses, and I have to really work hard and chug against the stickiness of being comfortable. The last few days have been relaxing, though, and I feel ready to tackle the challenges of my YA novel.

Looking back on boot camp, these are the things that have stuck with me:

Sadly, I have a deep sense of regret at having not performed as well as I know I can. The story I turned in was not very good. It had potential, yes, and it was memorable, but otherwise it was kind of a pile. When Mr. Card told us to write fast and not to dwell too much on quality, I took that as license to relax and just let it flow. You should never just "let it flow." You end up with a poorly thought-out story. But, it's true, I did learn a lot more from my bad story than I would have from a good one. BUT, future boot campers take note: YOU WILL be judged by the quality of the story you turn in, whether it is a fair indicator of your writing prowess or not. Everyone will categorize you by what they see in your work. So work hard, and when you're out of steam, keep working hard. I wish I would have.

That small disappointment aside, I learned SO much about what makes a story great. I thought I had a decent grasp on storytelling and writing, and vaguely thought that anything I could improve on was just detail and would come with experience. I was WRONG. I learned things (about POV, invention, and exposition--specifically how much information to tell) that I might never have learned otherwise. Boot camp has jumped my understanding forward by years. Now, it is just a matter of applying what I learned. That will take practice, but practice will be more productive now that I have a clear goal in mind.

And then there's the people. I liked every last one of the boot campers, and enjoyed their eccentricities and perspectives. I look forward to seeing what they do with what they learned. Except Jessica, who is a huge cheater--how dare she know what she's doing. ;)

I'll be checking in later this week to update ya'll on the progress of inventing and outlining the book. Peace.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Steve--glad I found your blog. Very interesting to see what your in-the-moment reactions to everything were. (I've been working on blogging mine after the fact, and I suspect that keeps them from having the raw candor that you've got.) Anyway, I wanted to point out that it's not just from your writing that people form their opinion of you. I think you had some of the most fun and insightful comments during the critiques, and the group would have been much the worse without you.

    Keep up the work on the novel--I'm really keen to see what comes of it!