Thursday, March 4, 2010

Evolution of a Writer

First poem is written. "Down went the celery, down went the cat. Down went me but not dat dat." Very proud of self.

First Grade:
Cute furry animal is happy, cute furry animal gets into trouble, cute furry animal gets out of trouble. The end.
Writing method: Dictation to mom, original artwork by me.

Third Grade:
Joint story with best friend about the misadventures of bat and flying squirrel.
Writing method: Two heads better than one. Original artwork by both of us. Giggling abounds.

Fifth Grade:
Possibly embarrassing time-traveling story involving middle school gym teacher.
Writing method: Mechanical pencils and legal pads. Inspiration hits anywhere and everywhere.

Eighth Grade:

Painfully cliched natural disaster story inspired by hit mid-nineties movie. Stilted dialogue and too many adverbs. Lots of fun to write, though. Flew through it.
Writing method: Mechanical pencils and mead notebooks. Lots of Mead notebooks.

High School:
Mushy stories about having lots of free time with my boyfriend. Writing as coping mechanism and escape from "overly strict" parents.
Writing method: Sparkly pens in secret journals and notebooks, scribbled behind illegally-locked doors.

Senior Year:
"Real" fiction as learned in college creative writing class. Previous writing shown to be positively awful. Damn, this stuff is hard.
Writing method: Parents' slow, slow, computer.

Character development, plot, theme, setting, description? Story arcs...inspiration and ideas coming slower, pushed out by craft. Am I actually going to major in this?
Writing method: Laptop at Village Coffee Shop, caffeine addiction begins.

Senior Year of College:
Tackle novella for senior honors project. With 3 weeks left before due date, decide to completely switch from third-person to first-person POV. Write straight through spring break. Accomplishment. 130 pages. Phew.
Writing method: Village Coffee Shop, Granville Coffee Shop, Library, Quad, Maine, on Floor of Room, on Ceiling of Room, on Top of Fridge. Caffeine IV inserted.

Last Semester of MFA:
Write a paragraph. Check Facebook. Walk away. Write another paragraph and decide that character isn't flushed out enough, so write a character interview. Make coffee. Decide that that character wouldn't do what I wanted him to do so change what he does. Do laundry. Research antelopes. Stare at the ceiling. Check Facebook. Write another paragraph. Wait until the last weekend before submission to write the majority of the story and then wonder why I'm developing an ulcer.
Writing method: Survival. 

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