The beginning of a new semester is always tricky, but especially when you’re sick (still? again? who even knows at this point).
I have a new bunch of students in Creative Writing this semester, and it’s about half the size of last semester’s class–and 80% male. This is the first time I’ve had enough kids sign up to teach it twice in a year, but with the smaller group I suspect it’s going to be a very different experience. Last semester had a lot of humor and several big personalities, and this semester seems like mostly silent students.
But our first unit is Creative Nonfiction, so I’m looking forward to having them write and design their own Six-Word Memoirs.
I just killed like an hour looking for the one I designed on Canva, but have now given up on that. My six-word memoir: “Learned more from teaching than school.”
Hey, remember how I was going to blog twice a week, Tuesdays and Saturdays??
Today is Wednesday.
On the plus side, I spent about four hours yesterday working on writing (lesson plans, work emails, and then–eventually!!–working on the RSWIP with my cowriter in a super-sweet new-to-me coffee shop. So good overall! And I do intend to continue with Tues/Sat as my preferred blog schedule… even though this week I was lying in bed ready to sleep Tuesday night before my eyes flew open in a panic as I remembered I’d forgotten to update the blog.
Aaaanywho, despite having pulled a Maxwell Smart on my first regular blog update of the year (whoooops), I did still get a good deal of writing done, and I’m excited about it–tonight I’m back at it and have just cut over 1200 words from the draft I’m revising.
AND I’m also strangely nervous about this, but I’m going to be submitting pages from the RSWIP to my crit group. Why is this weird? Who knows. Why is this somehow scarier than giving them pages from the YA-SFF-WIP? Maybe because this is Romantic Suspense and nobody in IndyScribes “writes romance” (although most people’s stuff has romantic subplots from time to time) and I feel weirdly embarrassed and dorky about liking Romance, despite the fact that it sells super well, and is super popular, and since when do I care about people thinking I’m a weirdo?!?!
I was nervous the first time I sent them pages from the YASFFWIP, too, so probably it’s just that overall nervousness of “okay I’ve been working on this with my whole heart and soul for literally years now but tell me what you REALLY think of it” and I’m sure it’ll be fine.
So, tonight instead of writing words, I cut about 600 from the draft of the first chapter of the co-written Romantic Suspense WIP. (I need a better name for that. TCWRSWIP? Hmm, not much better, actually… And my writing partner and I definitely agree that I’m not allowed to come up with titles for anything else. Maybe I’ll see if she’s got any ideas.)
Anyway! I sort of can’t believe how much I’ve learned in the two-year fallow period I spent in between bursts of work on TCWRSWIP (for lack of a better title). I’ve been reading a lot about story structure, scene structure, beats, etc. at Jenny Crusie’s side project blog, and that has helped a lot; and, of course, the first version of this scene was sort of a trial balloon that Chel wrote to see if I had any interest in the concept (4 years and 143k+ words later, I think it’s safe to say yes–yes I did). But the story has changed very significantly since then in our minds.
I’m in Cincinnati this weekend for a craft show, my mom’s birthday, my grama’s birthday, to see my aunt who’s visiting from Arizona, my brother, my great-aunt, and assorted other aunts and cousins, and to grade some papers, coordinate Thanksgiving plans with a bunch of people who are currently not texting or emailing me back… and work on not giving in to this cold that I’m not–not, dag-nabbit, I am NOT–catching.
And I definitely meant to write a good entry, but I’ve been running around like crazy since about 5 am and there’s just… there’s just nothing.
I have been thinking about how much better the New Beginning of my co-written novel is going to be once it’s completely rewritten (working on that now) and how much of the old stuff we’re going to have to discard or change completely now that Our Heroine has been completely overhauled. I got about… thirty more seconds into the scene I’m working on??
Today’s Friday, and I’ve had a nice, relaxing evening – play with baby, watch Project Runway with Cam, drink a glass of wine that made me want to go to sleep immediately, etc.
Tomorrow we go to Cincinnati for a craft show, and to visit my family, and we’ll be back Sunday, and then three days of school and then we’re hosting Thanksgiving, and the someting-something-Friendsgiving-idk and then work and then the first weekend in December I’m going on a road trip to Chicago to sell more cutting boards while Cameron goes to do the same in Philly. And then… finals and Christmas!
So… I’m starting to have that glazed-eye look and short fuse that signal it’s mid-November! WATCH OUT, HAHA!
In more cheerful news, my advisory did the #mannequinchallenge:
Well, we’ve reached the portion of the school year where I run out of fucks to give.
Coming up on Thanksgiving, as usual: I’m behind on grading; students are starting to realize that their terrible grades are going to be permanent if they don’t get it together; lots of classes are demanding work from students; behavior is slipping; suspensions are rising; fights are breaking out; and, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a SuperMoon? (I’m not 100% sure what a SuperMoon is, exactly, but I do know that teenagers–like werewolves–react badly to full moons. I am not making this up. Ask any teacher.)
At the writing date I had last Wednesday with two friends and fellow writers, my internet-friend-from-way-back-who-recently-moved-to-Indy Chel brought her CD wallet in. This mystified Chelsea, who is enough younger than us that a giant CD wallet full of burned mix CDs struck her as a charmingly old-fashioned item.
Chelsea and I have talked before about making soundtracks as a writing tool; it’s something I’ve been doing since I was in high school (the earliest ones were cassette tapes, but my dad was an early adopter of new technology, meaning we got a CD burner when they were still rarities). Chel and I have been exchanging fanfic and mix CDs with our friend Meach since the 90s, and I used to put a truly amazing amount of time into creating WinAmp playlists (uh, and skins) and mix CDs (often with “cover art” that I drew myself, first-person notes from characters, and on-disc art).
Since having a kid, though, the time I used to put into this seems to have mysteriously evaporated, so I’m extremely rusty; plus, I’ve had a computer upgrade but the new computer doesn’t have an optical drive. But I’ve been using Shazam to identify songs I like and then I’ve been using Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube to follow up. Continue reading mixing it up→