Well, I did it! I wrote a short story focusing on character. I really like it, but we’ll see whether or not my mentor does. It’s a little over 4,900 words. Is that about right for a short story? Since I’ve never really written one before, I have no idea what the range is. I just know that the range is pretty big. I should listen to classical music more. That’s how I got inspiration for this short story.
My problem now is that I have to write about twenty pages of something else. And I’m not sure what. I have a few ideas, but I don’t really know if any of them are good for right now. I’ve never really written in omniscient point of view before. I realized that it would be a good POV for my huge project, so I tried writing my project in omniscient POV for my first packet. My mentor told me it was terrible (which I knew; I’ve never written in omniscient before) and that she didn’t think it was a good idea for my story. Well, I’ve decided to put that project away and force myself to write other things, no matter how painful, but I’d still like to learn how to write omnipresent POV. I’m not sure if I should try that now or save it for another semester.
I also can’t decide what genre in which I’d like to write. Do I want to write something serious or fun? Fantasy or sci-fi? Or do I want to try something different all-together? I had planned on writing an historical fiction piece this fall, but I thought maybe that was too ambitious for a first-semester project (since I’ve never written one before). However, I’m not quite sure what else to write. And the point of this whole program is to learn.
Okay, I’ve breaked long enough. Time to get back to work.
When I finished the rough draft of my science fiction story, I decided to put the story away for awhile and try something else. My something else didn’t make it very far, and I got caught up in college. After about a year, I picked up the story again to polish the first three chapters for my grad school application. About a year or two later, I was finally accepted to graduate school! And then—I realized that I hadn’t written anything (except for polishing those first three chapters) in three years. I’d had writer’s block for longer than some of my classmates have been writing!
I thought that I would work on something completely different while in grad school—ignore my other story completely and go back to it when I have the tools to write it well. The only problem is that I can’t seem to write anything else. Ideas don’t jump out of the woodworks the way they used to. I have to struggle to come up with ideas. I’ve tried starting a couple of stories, but I just can’t get into them. They seem flat, and I have to force myself to keep writing. What happened to my passion? What happened to the days when I just wrote and wrote and wrote and couldn’t wait to wake up the next morning so that I could write some more?
My second packet is due in about two weeks, and I haven’t written anything. I’m supposed to write a short story focusing on character development. I’ve written only about one or two short stories in my life, and they were terrible. I don’t know how to write a short story. And I’m not any good at character development. So where do I start? I have been trying, but nothing’s come. So far, all my graduate school work has been absolutely miserable. I hope I can get into the grove soon.
A friend once told me, “There will always be an open gate for you.” I have found that gate. I have just begun an intensive two-year program. By the end of these two years, I will have learned how to craft a story that children, young adults, and adults will want to read. This is not what I hope to accomplish. I will accomplish this. That is my promise to myself. Many nights, I will stay up late writing stories and essays. Many days, I will read and read and read. Nothing good ever comes without hard work. Hard work builds character. And from my hard work, I will learn how to build characters.
I am very excited. I have never taken a class or a workshop on creative writing. I have never belonged to a critique group. Everything I know about story comes from what I’ve figured out on my own, and what I’ve learned in the past five years from about half a dozen craft books. I have much to learn.
I hope that you will join me on my journey. Passing through the gate is only the beginning. I have a long road to travel. But like a heroine on a quest, I will meet friends and companions to help me face the obstacles ahead. Together, we can defeat the villains of empty plot, one-dimensional characters, and confusing language. And in the end, may we, together, pass through the glass to the amazing world that lies beyond.