Dec 01

Persistence

Fortune

It’s only two classes, but they’re wedged in with everything else and TWO CLASSES seems to be the limit, the maximum, that can be wedged into my current existence. The things in the margins: housekeeping, cooking, fiber pursuits. (I keep up with the laundry, because it’s one of two chores I actually enjoy, and everybody needs clean towels and underwear). Although my blog is suffering from neglect because of all the writing I do for my creative writing class, I’ve been writing more than I have in years. And Texas History? An absolute gift. Although much of what I thought I knew about the Old West is now revealed to be a collection of myths, the upside is that with the true and sometimes ugly backstory, I now have rich context for re-reading one of my favorite novels — Lonesome Dove.

I saved the best for last.

Background: I have a very short list of classes I have to take in order to earn my Associate of Arts degree. While I could have transferred to a university as a junior (with my existing credits), there are two reasons I want my AA first: (1) as a milestone marker and (2) the ease of transferring to a university (over transferring with credits from two different colleges in Oklahoma). So with this short list, it seemed a little bit limiting until I allowed myself the luxury of digging a little deeper into matching the requirements with things in which I have an interest. When I learned that a Creative Writing class would fulfill the remaining Humanities credit I needed, I was all over it! Not only that, as some of you might remember, it’s part of a “themed” block of Futuristic classes — my professor was offering this class as a Speculative Fiction and Screenwriting class. And while writing within the theme was optional, I loved that some of the material and supplemental reading was specific to science fiction and fantasy.

I’ll skip to the good part now – screenwriting. Screenwriting really FITS with my writing style and it helps me focus on the parts of my writing I’d like to improve. There is enough structure to screenplay writing, along with formatting and style conventions, that it helps me to construct a story. Every encounter with it (I’m writing one now for an assignment) is rewarding — not easy, mind you, but rewarding. I don’t often feel that way when I’ve invested time in writing – but with screenwriting I do.

Now Write! Screenwriting

With this class, I now not only have more writing under my belt, but more FINISHED writing — a few short stories and nearly 20% of a screenplay. I also have a lot more ideas and inspiration. There are so many great resources, but here are some books we’ve used in class for our in-class writing exercises:

The Lie that Tells a Truth, by John Dufresne

Now Write! Fiction Writing Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers, by Sherry Ellis

Now Write! Screenwriting: Screenwriting Exercises from Today’s Best Writers and Teachers, by Sherry Ellis

What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter

Next time I hope to have a finished knitting project to share. I might even actually model it myself.

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16 comments

16 comments!!!

  1. Lolly says:

    it sounds like your life is pretty exciting right now! I love screenwriting, it’s so rewarding :)

  2. Debbie says:

    Very impressive. Think you should frame the fortune cookie saying.

  3. Gail says:

    This is fascinating, Janet! I’m just awed by what you’re doing!

  4. lekkercraft says:

    So interesting! What an awesome update, I love hearing about what you’ve been up to!

  5. carol says:

    So inspiring. Move over, Nora Ephron!!!!

  6. SoKnitpicky says:

    I am so amazed by you! ;-)

    • Janet says:

      Thank you! I’m humbled by your comment, but I have to give you a large amount of credit for your motivational nudges and your cheers from the sidelines.

  7. Brenda says:

    Glad you are enjoying your classes so much! I come from a family of writers, and I occasionally write a poem. This year I have had two accepted for publication in a regional poetry journal. That was fun. Now I want to work on some memoir pieces about my Grandma Frances who died last year at the age of 100. Some day, I’ll try fiction, so thanks for the links!

    • Janet says:

      First of all, congratulations on your published poetry — I had no idea! I would love to read (more) about your Grandma Frances and do hope that you’ll share those. Before taking my writing class, I was very dismissive of the idea of using writing prompts, but now I’m convinced that they’re extremely helpful. I’m always uncomfortable with it at first, but once I figured out that it’s truly “exercise,” and that it always feels better afterward than it does at the beginning — it made sense. Nobody ever has to see what you produce from a writing prompt, but it could help unearth an idea or a character.

  8. LynneW says:

    How lovely that you have found screenwriting to fit with your writing style, and that you are not only enjoying but accomplishing! I am so proud of you! And I think your plan is a good one – having that marker of your accomplishment will be a big help as you work through the next part of your plan.

    I have a favorite quotation that I saved from my teens, it’s by Calvin Coolidge – I framed it and am still inspired by it. Hope it encourages you, too:

    “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence.
    Talent will not;
    Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
    Genius will not;
    Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
    Education will not;
    The world is full of educated derelicts.
    Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

    There’s a bit more (“The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved
    And always will solve the problems of the human race.”)
    but that wasn’t a part of my framed quotation. Sorta reminds me of the English “Keep on and keep calm” from World War Two ~

    • Janet says:

      Thank you, Lynne, for your thoughtful and encouraging comment! I appreciate your validation of my plan! Persistence and “keeping on” does not come naturally for me :-) — my trademark behavior is starting things. :-)

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