Saturday, June 18, 2011

Imagine or die

The day started with a lecture from Barry Longyear. The subject: Imagine or die.

He spoke a lot about how we associate different levels of information in our minds, and how creating such an association, whether consciously or subconsciously, can open up all kinds of stories.

He went on to talk about his own process, his research, how he keeps things organised and how he keeps his imagination running using external cues. Very interesting stuff, and a very candid view into the mindset and process of an author who's been doing this for decades.

During the lecture I felt my apprehension for my afternoon one on one with Barry growing. He had been sent one of my stories, And Then There Was The Word, two weeks ago, and had written notes.

It's at moments like these, when I'm sitting there listening to someone like Barry lecturing, that I really don't understand how I ended up here. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience, and I am so happy I came here.

Then on to my one on one. My language was "exquisite", which felt very good hearing. Then the artillery came out. Bang! Bang! Bang! Suffice to say that I will now put that story in a dark corner of my harddrive for at least three months, then take it out, sit down with notes from both Teacher and Barry, and pull the whole thing apart. Try different things, shift POV, restructure the plot, mess with the setting, all of it. I love the premise of the story, but obviously it doesn't work as a whole.

Still, it wasn't so bad. I learned a lot today, both from the lecture and my one on one.

The weekend will be spent writing. I have four stories left to turn in before the class is over. On Monday I will get in-class critique on the story I turned in today (Sacrifice - about a man who finds a god of war in Iraq). On Friday I will get in-class critique, with added opinions from writer Theodora Goss, on a story I hopefully will finish over the weekend. It's hardcore sci fi, something I haven't tried before, and I am really going out there with the POV character being a shapeshifting alien. We'll see how that goes.

Today we also had our weekly class mixer. Last Friday, barbecue. Today, pizza. We played a setting game, to help us think outside the box on setting. We went far far outside the box, and much laughter ensued.

Best quotes of the day:
Barbecue Man: Everybody needs goals.
Me: Everybody needs trolls?
Barbecue Man: Yeah. That too.

This one requires context. Charley Horse borrowed my umbrella (more rain today! Hooray!) and found the receipt for it. Thus:
Your umbrella cost 99 femenarkenborken.

Börk börk börk!

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