Word count, and what I did in class


Finally! After two false starts I have a beginning I really like for The Girls Nobody Wanted to Date. One chapter done and a little on another.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,497 / 60,000
(2.5%)

Today was interesting in my creative writing class. I came up with this idea to shock the kids into paying attention and really absorbing what I was saying about getting in touch with your emotions for writing. I have these ideas all the time, but seldom act on them because … well, they often involve acting and I get all self conscious and end up not doing it. The chance about slipped away today, but I waited and when the opportunity came, I went with it. One of my really good students who I’ve had in class before gave me the opening, so I began with, “I have anger issues! I bet you didn’t know that.” I went on to describe how the anger starts like a pebble in my shoe, then spreads until it explodes in a white light when some cow at Wal-Mart is blocking the whole shampoo isle. I described snapping her neck in vivid detail, then explained how I can’t afford therapy for my anger issues, so I write. They had eyes like saucers. “You can’t half-ass the emotions,” I said. “Nobody wants to read a story where you’re holding out on them.” And, by God, they got the point. They had to write about anger and most of them dug deep and did really well. This could turn out to be a great class.

In science fiction we read Terry Bisson’s “They’re Made Out of Meat.” The kids liked it. Then we read Damon Knight’s “Not with a Bang” and it wasn’t quite as well received, though I could see lights come on as we discussed what was happening with the ending. That’s the last period and the class (31 kids) has several freshmen in it, so it gets a bit rowdy. Gotta keep them engaged every minute.

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8 thoughts on “Word count, and what I did in class

    • Ha! That’s funny. You’re kinda like Shara. You just somebody to bite you and infect you with self-confidence (and lycanthropy).
      I’m using your books as lessons on writing great YA novels. If this thing I’m working on is half as good as yours, I’ll be happy.

      • I don’t know if I could handle all the hair.
        Plus, you know, the whole self-deprecating thing is such an intriguing switch in the world of local politics. I went to a barbeque today with the guy who is likely to be the next attorney general for Maine and I was stunned by how much all the candidates talked about themselves. I mean… it was a non-stop brag fest. So, yeah, I may not be terribly confident but at least I’m capable of stringing together two sentences that are not about me.
        I wish you were there and you could have given them a talking to.
        I would be honored if you used my books at all because you rock.

        • I wouldn’t have talked to them. I’d have worked the crowd, saying, “Listen to those windbags. Carrie Jones knows it isn’t all about her. Politics is about serving people like you. Even Beowulf didn’t go on about himself as much as these guys. Gimme some more barbecue, will ya?”
          Do you barbecue lobsters up there, or what?

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