Great. They've changed the blogger
interface and it now looks like a word document. When I couldn't stop
over-thinking my CNF assignment, I started writing it as a blog post so
that I could get out of that Blank Word Document of Disillusionment and
Despair environment, but here it is again. It is nice and clean,
In other news...
Writing 100 class, the creative nonfiction (CNF) section, we workshopped
our stories, just like we will in every Creative Writing class. The
workshop exercise is fundamental and, I think, extremely valuable.
those unfamiliar with the process, you usually read over a piece the
first time to get a sense of the story. Then, you go over it again with a
highlighter and/or pen, making notes as you go along. "This doesn't
make sense," "This is too wordy," This is AMAZING," "The phrasing is
awkward here," "Can you give some more detail?", and you make
grammatical and spelling changes or suggestions. You scratch out adverbs
and highlight powerful verbs. You suggest which parts need to be
condensed and which need to be elaborated on, but you also point out the
good parts. You tell the author which sentences add veracity and
verisimilitude (what a word, eh?), which ones show character, describe
setting, evoke emotion. And you write up the good along with the bad.
Some people like to give "feedback sandwiches": What works, what
doesn't, then what works again. You have to be honest, but you also have
to have tact. Destroy the piece if you have to, but do it gently, and
actually consider the possibility that the author may be emotionally
attached to the piece.
Verisimilitude: a likeness or resemblance of the truth, reality or a fact's probability. (From Wiki.)
are great when you're struggling with a particular part of the story
because the others will help you come up with ideas, and they're great
when you need someone to fix the awkward bits you missed.
recently gave out copies of my story to my workshop group, and
collected the group's stories for editing, too. I have participated in
numerous workshops in the past at Camosun, so I had a certain level of
expectation going into it. The skill level of so many of my former
classmates was incredible at Camosun. Even when the spelling and grammar
was wrong, or the phrasing was awkward, the stories were still very impressive, with
only a few exceptions. Forgetting that WRIT100 is a first year course,
one that people choose to take even though they're not interested in
becoming writers, I was a little disappointed with some of my peers'
stories. A couple were quite good and had a lot of potential, and most
of the time I understood the author's intentions, but some stories were
not actually creative nonfiction. I was expecting more, even if they
were more likely to excel in another genre (like poetry or drama).
I got the edited copies of my story back, there wasn't too much for me
to change. I already knew the ending was inadequate, and everyone agreed
with that - without actually saying, "Your ending is inadequate," of
course. But a couple of the copies only had the occasional "I like
this," "This is good," "Nice job here," which wasn't really enough. On
one girl's piece, you could hardly see the original text because of how
many notes I made on it. Another editor marked errors in my piece when
it was really her suggestions that were wrong. It's hard to take advice
when it's coming from someone you know doesn't have the experience. It
sounds bad, and I sound totally pompous, but some of the edits were nowhere near as detailed and helpful as those from my first year fiction
class or first year creative nonfiction class at Camosun.
Of course, my peers at UVic are still learning. The ones at Camosun are, too. And I am definitely still learning. But this experience in WRIT100 has, once again, proven that great talent does not
stem from large pocketbooks, or slightly shinier pieces of paper. UVic
is more prestigious than Camosun, sure. If I say "UVic," most people
know what that is. If I say "Camosun," I sometimes have to explain that
it's a college. It's just a shame that the talent at Camosun might not
earn as shiny of pieces of paper that UVic hands out after going through
the Creative Writing program. Camosun should offer shiny pieces of paper for Creative Writing.
I just wish talent was rewarded more often.