Yesterday we talked about our writing goals: what we’re looking forward to accomplishing this year, what we’re doing to stay on track, and whether we’ve had to reexamine our goals. Last semester’s character talks have inspired us to really focus on character development in all of our projects, as well as finishing projects rather than simply focusing on word counts, and we’re looking forward to more inspiring craft talks and opportunities to experiment with new forms and genres in the months to come. Thomasa recommends Pinterest for storyboarding your projects, which helps if you don’t have space for a corkboard (or if you have multiple projects going at once) and allows your work to travel with you. Noelle suggests breaking down your goals into smaller, more manageable parts: for example, focusing on finishing a particular scene rather than a whole novel looming over you, and resolving to finish each scene before moving on to the next. This will make your goal less intimidating and keep you on track if, especially if you have trouble writing from Point A to Point B to Point C and tend to skip ahead to Point Q when you get stuck. Some writers work best by jumping around, and there’s nothing wrong with writing a book out of order and putting it together later—just make sure you’re not missing pieces (or, you know, whole second acts). Plotting a sequel or a series by accident while procrastinating can be great fun, but you still need to finish that first book.
(At the risk of sounding like a broken record, do yourself a favor and download a free trial of Scrivener. The corkboard and binder views allow you to visualize your entire project, easily rearrange scenes as needed, and see what’s missing. You can also save all of your research in your project for easy reference while writing.)
Noelle also recommends this TED Talk on storytelling by Disney/Pixar filmmaker Andrew Stanton.
Next week (Monday, February 11) Thomasa will be sharing her insights on the querying process, so have your questions ready. We’ll also spend a little time looking at romance tropes, because a February challenge has been issued! Here’s a fun resource if you want to get a head start, but you may want to set a timer for yourself as it’s a notorious black hole of distraction and procrastination. The challenge: write a love story of around 1000 words.
The week after that (Tuesday, February 19) we’ll begin our first workshop with a session on how to workshop! Workshop pieces (those love stories!) will be due that day so everyone will have a week to read each other’s work and be ready to discuss them at the next meeting (Monday, February 25). Reminder: challenges are for fun, not assignments. No one is obligated to write for them or to take part in the workshop if they’re not comfortable. This is an opportunity to get a little experience giving and receiving criticism, which will serve you well throughout your writing life.
We raised the possibility of putting together a creative writing newsletter, which could be distributed in print or digital form (or both!) closer to the end of the semester. No plans in place yet, but ideas are welcome.
A lot of our discussion topics come from questions posed in our meetings, but if there’s a subject that hasn’t come up naturally that you’d like us to devote a craft talk to, or one that you’d like to take charge of, don’t hesitate to suggest it!
The new Theater Club is still looking for members and material. No word yet on the Spring production, but since we’re both new clubs it could be fun to collaborate. A few of us have been throwing around ideas for one-act plays, so here’s a formatting guide with a couple samples.
The library is hosting a Board Game Night on Wednesday, February 13th at 5pm. Classic board games and some less classic word games, as well as the writing club’s storytelling games, will be available to play, and anyone is welcome to bring their own games to play with a group.