Friday, March 11, 2011

Module 3 - Creative Writing Course

This week, we were told about the value of 'workshopping'. Basically, it's having a few people, or a group that helps each other, to read your work and provide criticism. Which also means that I have to tell people that I'm writing, and have to let people read what I'm writing ... !! I know this is important - to be a writer, someone needs to read your work. But I was hoping that I could hide was I was writing until it was all neatly bound into a printed novel. I have to overcome that, obviously, and I think that is what this blog is about, in part. I want feedback, and I am putting myself out there.

Also, the course was about description. It was about scenes and summary in writing. It was about dialogue, and it was about using all five senses.

Here is my assignment that week:

The gusty breeze brought the smell of lemon-scented gums when it billowed past. The winter sun was bright, but the heat that could roast the earth at other times of the year did not seem to reach me. The air was icy, causing goosebumbs to break out in tight little lumps across my arms and scalp. But I continued to trudge through the wet grass, bracing against the wind and hugging myself. I always felt like I was the last person on earth out here. This paddock was completely closed in by hills and thick grey-green gums rising steeply up the slopes, their shadows stretching halfway across the clearing. The only sign of humanity was the post and wire fence that run across my path in the distance, and the occasional jet tracing its slow passage across the blue sky. Bell birds whipped their greeting to me from the gums, and a willy-wagtail danced ahead of me before perching on a large cow pat and twirling his tail in a black and white blur. Faintly, I was eventually able to hear the low hum of a tractor, as I crossed the paddock towards the rusty wire gate that hung lopsided from its hinges.

Here are the tutor's comments:

To Jacqui
This starts off a little awkwardly,  but then you get into your stride and it comes alive.

Look at the difference in ‘feel’ between the first three sentences and what comes after ‘But I’.  At the beginning, you are trying for effect, but your character is absent.  Your sentences are all constructed the same way (for example, they all start with ‘The’).

Then your character enters the scene and suddenly it comes alive.  After that, we are so firmly in the moment as she/he walks across the paddock that we are utterly convinced it’s a real place.  The rhythm is stronger and the sentences flow.

Why not have a try at rewriting the first three sentences so that they feel the same way?  Then it would be really terrific.

Well done.

By the way, the research for my novel has begun!

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