My first class is behind me, thank goodness. I really didn't know what to expect, even though I'm the teacher as well as the student.
Actually, I didn't know what to expect because the teacher-me still hadn't quite figured out how it should go...
Should I spend the entire time writing? If so, how much and/or for how long? Will my writing goal be based on chapters-per-week, or should I make it so many words a day?
And what about reading? I really should review some of my writing books, and then there are all of the historical reference materials I've gathered...should I include time for that during "class"? I could call it the "lecture".
Or should all of my reading be considered homework?
By the time class started, I still hadn't ironed it all out, but I knew I couldn't waste time worrying about it. I would just start writing.
And wouldn't you know...it took two agonizing semesters, but my writing mentality seems to be thoroughly set in "screenplay" mode now. For months the biggest obstacle I faced in writing my screenplay was 'too much detail' where I didn't need it. The kind of detail that goes into books, but isn't necessary, and in fact, gets in the way of a screenplay. I had to cut, cut, cut.
Now I've got to work my detail-muscles back into shape - characters, setting, etc. And I've got to jump out of the present-tense back into the past.
What was I thinking? Why did I think I should switch from screenplay to novel?
No, I still think it's the right decision. My old habits aren't gone - just tucked into one of those folders stacked on the desk in the library. And it's good for my brain to have to switch back and forth - it'll keep those gears turning smoothly, and (I hope) make me a better writer all around.
By the time class ended tonight, I had read over pages and pages of story notes from the past two semesters, waded back into the facts and mused about the parts in-between that I get to make up, typed, deleted, typed, deleted, and finally managed to churn out (almost) a whole first chapter.
It's not much, but it's a start. I've spent three months away from the story, and I'm surprised how much I've forgotten. I'll need to spend almost as much time reviewing and researching as I do writing at first, and it's easy for me to get lost in the research. I love stepping back in time, following other trails that are fascinating but have nothing to do with my story. Now that I'm really limited on time, I'm going to have to keep a tight rein on myself and stick to searching only for relevant information and not get carried away, especially now in the beginning when I just need to get the story down.
And I know, before too long, I'll once again be lost in this story. My characters will remember me...they'll forget their shyness and take over the telling. Then I'll be able to step aside and just type.
"Writing is like hunting. There are brutally cold afternoons with nothing in sight, only the wind and your breaking heart. Then the moment when you bag something big. The entire process is beyond intoxicating." - Kate Braverman