Today was Deryl’s last day, as he is leaving for a conference tomorrow. Peggy is back, and will be taking his slot.
He read several of our “stories” from yesterday, with five people each adding a line.
He then handed out three short-short stories for us to read. Ever have one of those moments when you are sure that particular piece of paper must be with the rest, and it isn’t? That’s me, today. In fact all of my handouts seem to be missing. I’ll have to borrow the handouts from someone tomorrow and put in the exact names of the stories and poems.
As an in-class writing assignment, he then had us write a short piece on our first job, including a single incident and a surprise turn. (I’ll put mine in comments.)
The session ended with what has become a tradition at the creative writing class: a game of Whack-A-Mole.
Rob talked about openings. I learned a new word: profluence, or moving the story forward. He pointed out that dialogue is one thing that moves at the pace of the story, neither speeding up nor slowing down. But we were cautioned to avoid “talking heads;” dialogue needs to be interspersed with action to put the reader in the story. He used as an example “Westland,” by Charles Baxler. As homeplay, we are to write a scene between two characters.
Jeanne mentioned several mindful writing books brought by Peggy. I’ll post the list to go live on Thursday, since I won’t have time to post Thursday or Friday. As homeplay we are each to bring in an object that has an interest or value to us. We spent most of the session discussing a poem by Yusef Komuyakaa, “Facing It,” about the Viet Nam War Memorial. (No, I can’t find that handout either, but I googled the poem.)
Afternoon was individual conferences. I gave Rob the first few pages of each of the three books of my trilogy. The one I’ve worked hardest on he said needed more grounding—i.e., I’ve cut too much. I think I see how to fix it.