Thursday, September 15, 2005

Fact or Fiction?

So I'm taking this Writer's Digest correspondence course and I had a Eureka moment recently. The recent unit was on short fiction, and I was determined to master the fundamentals of fiction. I was reading everything I could get my hands on, both short fiction, novels and texts on the craft itself. Oh yeah, not to be forgotten, the many authors' blogs as well. I read some Jane Kirkpatrick and I read some Harry Potter. I read some Robin Lee Hatcher and some Clive Cussler. I read some Lisa Samson and I read some more Lisa Samson. (Write, Lisa, write!)

And then I sat down hoping to turn out a passable piece of work. Ugh. Nothing would come. Every idea seemed to dead end itself. Finally, I added another chapter to my WIP and whipped it off to my instructor, just glad to be done with it. Less than two weeks later it came bouncing back to me, with a note from my confused instructor. This was to be short fiction so why was I sending her Chapter 2 from another work? And my outline, intended to be the starting point for my short story was from a totally different story! Needless to say, I was MBR (mortified beyond recognition)! Okay, back to the drawing board.

When I was a kid, my sister and I both took piano lessons, she of her own accord while I was forced. Gosh, how I hated when we had to play duets. Finally, I got my mom to understand it just wasn't for me. Someone had to do the listening, I would tell her! Many nights as a teen I would prepare dinner while my sister did her practising. Some kids might have complained, "unfair," but not me. I was doing what I did best - listening.

I think that's the way it is with fiction. I have to do what I do best - read for enjoyment. I don't enjoy reading fiction while I'm subconsiously studying plot and character development. I just want to read. Now give me a bunch of facts and ask me to organize them into an article or training document - I'm all over that. But when it comes to fiction, I'm content to be a reader for now. Someone's got to do it!

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