Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Dear Globlets,

After completely over-thinking my creative nonfiction story for the last several weeks, after trying to work with the truth as creatively as possible, the other day in my scriptwriting class, I wrote a short fictional scene for the first time in ages. And man, did it feel good. It felt like I didn't have to worry about anything. I just wrote. I just became that serial killer who walked into the Starbucks. I became the redhead for whom he held the door open. I became that 16 year-old girl he kept looking at in an overly nice but ultimately creepy way. Come to think of it, I should have become the girl's boss a little more, but it was just a scene. And I have the power to change things as I please.

It was an exercise we started in class. We created characters to walk into a coffee shop, gave them some physical description, came up with a few details of their past and character, and established why they were in a coffee shop at that particular moment. Then, we put our notes in a pile, mixed them up, and picked a page to create a scene from. The one I picked happened to be about a serial killer. Then, my prof said to make the character lose the struggle we create for them. Interesting, huh?

I missed writing like that - with just a couple of guidelines. It just flowed. I didn't have to stress over it. And I don't really know why, but I seemed to be really stressed out in my CNF class. To make matters worse, I don't think I did very well on the exam. I don't know what was up with that/me. Maybe I gave too much detail on the definitions and that's why I didn't have enough time for the essay question. At least my scene got 90%. I think my story will do well, especially since my friend Tom helped edit, plus at least 10% of the class's stories weren't actually creative nonfiction. I know my exam was only last Thursday, but I really want to know my mark, simply so I can accept it and move on.

While I have yet to move on, the class has. We're onto fiction now. The introduction to it consisted partly of bashing creative nonfiction. Apparently, I'm the only one in my class who likes the genre - or at least it seemed that way. I don't have to like a CNF class to like the genre. On one hand, I hope the class hasn't ruined the genre for anyone; on the other, if it did, that means less competition for me! Contrary to popular belief, reality can be just as emotional and sensitive and interesting as fantasy. CNF writers can't tell stories about aliens, so there are some limitations, but that doesn't make CNF dull. People are interesting. Beauty can be found as easily in the mundane as it can be in the grandiose. And sometimes it's the littlest of things, the quickest of looks, the sincerest of moments, that make real life interesting and worthwhile.

It is interesting, however, how little I wrote for the CNF section of WRIT100, and how little I'm expected to write for the fiction section. It's one story each. One story? Each story for WRIT100 has had a maximum word count of 1,500. I wrote eight or nine short stories for my fiction class at Camosun, and I believe each had the same maximum word count as these two stories. One of my short stories turned out to be over 2,000 words. I'm not trying to belittle what we've been doing in my WRIT100 classes because I do value it, but I wish we had more opportunities to actually write, as opposed to read and react. Why can't we do both? Read and react, and then workshop a thousand-word short story? A scene. Flash fiction. A conversation. The description of a town. A character sketch. Anything.

I'm probably just being impatient. To do so much at Camosun and then go to UVic to do much less has been weird for me.

But scriptwriting... Scriptwriting at Camosun is getting me thinking. I'm coming up with ideas again. It's like the CNF course sucked the life out of me, sucked the stories out of me. I couldn't think about anything else. All I thought about was, "Dear Lucy, how am I going to end this?" and "What am I trying to say with this piece?". But not anymore. I'll keep writing my own creative nonfiction, but now it's time for something completely different.

It's storytime, Globlets.

1 comment:

Mommet said...

Unfortunately what you're experiencing with the UVic course is typical for those who have experience in something yet are obliged to take an introductory course in it to satisfy programme requirements. C'est la vie, mon cherie. C'est la vie.

Just think how much better prepared you're going to be in the true CW courses when you're in the programme proper. You'll be surrounded only by people who actually are supposed to be there, not those who think CW is an easy credit. That's when the fun will really begin.

Oh, and I hope you will continue to write CNF - I love reading it.