Friday, May 30, 2014

July is just a month away

Spent some time today working on what exactly I'm going to be doing for my CampNaNoWriMo workshop at the library. Until the actual group has met, I don't want to get myself too mentally locked in to any one setup or approach; different people may want different things. It's also important to me to know the age ranges. If I end up with a 17 year old and/or a 16 year old, I'm going to want to anticipate toning my language down, anyway. Content need not suffer.

I'm of course aiming high, as I want it to be a fun and comfortable environment in which to write, but I also want some structure to the meetings, some nuts 'n' bolts stuff, info on inscrutables like plotting and planning and pantsing and character arcs. Who knows, maybe the time I'm spending won't help the workshops bear fruit at all, and we'll find a different way. At least I'm striving to have good handouts!

Famous first lines is one topic I intend to cover. I poked around on the Interweb 'til I found a list I pared down for sanity's sake when it comes to photocopying. There's lots and lots of lists everywhere, of course, like this 100 Best First Lines From Novels on American Book Review. First lines are important; they're that first content bastion a reader gets to, after the title or cover or author draws him or her in. The first line is supposed to lead one to the second. And the third. And so on, until the last. A first line should make one absolutely mad to hear the rest of the story. Sometimes a first line leads to later disappointment, though. In my mind, Nabokov's Lolita was never as good as the first paragraph.

And, speaking of Lolita, here's an article on the recent "trigger warnings in classrooms" kerfuffle (is it settled yet? Is there a such possibility?) which I thought was interesting and covered the topic well.

Oh hey, and according to this imgur post, MIT publishes "virtually all" of its course materials online for free. Worth looking into, for self edification and self eucation and all that.

At one point this afternoon, I came to the realization that I probably ought to have some idea of what I will be doing in July. Should I do the fantasy novel I've been incubating, or does it need more time? My gut tells me it probably needs more time. Should I do the urban fantasy biker gang novel I meant to write this past November, before another idea intruded? That one could work. And I'm fond of its hypothetical first line. 
I see a lot of writers talking about the terror of the blank page, or being afraid to try, things like that. You know what's scarier than writing? Scarier than sharing your writing? The teeth of a crabeater seal



  1. Hi Jennifer,

    How cool is that, to run a writing workshop! I do hope you'll write about your experiences and share some of the joys and trials of teaching writing. Do you expect mostly teenagers? Or is the class meant for all ages? I'll be running a workshop at the Emerald City Writer's Conference in you can believe I'm a sponge right now! I love your blogs, by the way.


    1. I do intend to write about leading the workshop; I don't know who-all I'll get signed up, so it'll be interesting to see how the group gels and how things pan out.I expect mostly adults, but I mention teens as my library does not currently have any teen programming. The previous solid group of teens aged out, and subsequent gestures plus a staff change didn't generate much interest. So maybe I'll get one or two?

      Thanks for commenting! In preparation, I am combing the Internet for ideas, and do have general plans for topics to touch upon as the month progresses (I feel as though querying ought to be in there, sigh, but talking about flash will be fun!)