My titling system is getting out of control! Okay, I’m on Day 3 of Week 7 in the Is Life Like This?. But I’m going to keep track of the actual days I’ve been writing in the titles.
Another good day in the notebook. I’m enjoying playing around with point of view. When revising poems, one of my favorite tricks is to change the point of view so I feel like I’m in somewhat familiar territory.
Today I wrote a two page monologue in the voice of a man since the exercise was to write as the opposite gender. He had just gotten bad news about his younger sister. I actually got a little teary eyed while writing it. That was crazy lol.
I also wrote letters from lovers who can’t be together. Of course, I went all dramatic and made the man be on death row. That was fun.
And I wrote from the perspective of a child who’s parents split up. Now I’m mad at his parents for not being more forthcoming with him.
I have never considered myself a fast writer. I write the same line over and over when I write poems. With prose, I start off really slowly too. But after 30 minutes to an hour of writing, things just take off and I can fill 10 handwritten pages very quickly. I roughly estimate that’s about 2400 words. And the last few days I’ve written for more than 3 hours/day. I say this to say, I finished the Week 7 exercises. I could keep doing them over and over, but then I would lose all desire to write anything ever again. So I’m just going to keep going.
Weeks 8-11 are spent focusing on plot. I started off as a blank slate with no idea what to write. Now I have a main character, a setting, and several subplots. And I have an idea of how it opens and how it might end. Okay, I have the opening, each plot point, the climax and catharsis sketched out, if I’m being honest. It took about 5.5 weeks for that to develop with these exercises. I didn’t see that coming at all.
I really, really want to just go ahead and bust a first draft out, but I get a new and deeper understanding of the main character’s struggle every day with these exercises. And I’m trying to allow myself the opportunity to practice the basics–like dialogue and plot. But that’s ignoring the fact that I’ve taken intro and advanced fiction classes/workshops, a screenwriting course, and that I’ve actually taught the basics of fiction to gifted high school students.
Listing those things isn’t bragging. It’s the opposite of bragging. I don’t have confidence in my abilities to write fiction. This book (John Dufresne’s Is Life Like This?) is definitely helping by forcing me to practice things that I’ve sat back and said I just don’t understand how fiction writers do it for years and years. But this first draft will definitely be happening in less than 6 months. And I cannot believe I’m saying that.