Sunday, September 18, 2011

embracing change

It's been a while since I posted, but I've been busy immersing myself in my new school, Susquehanna University. It's only been three weeks, but I've learned more about fiction than in my two years at my other school. Tom Bailey, my professor, is brilliant. I had a conference with him on Wednesday to discuss the short story I'm writing for class. I was thrilled when he said my opening paragraph reminded him of something John Steinbeck wrote, but I was less than thrilled when he told me I needed to cut it. It didn't add anything to my story, at least not the story Tom saw in my piece.

He showed me where my real story was, bypassing the dialogue I'd forced into the piece to create some external conflict. My real story was much more subtle. He also informed me that my narrator was not seventeen like I'd written her, but thirteen. These were all things I'd never thought twice about before, but now that I see them, I can't imagine them being any other way.

I'm learning to embrace change here, slicing paragraphs I worked so hard to craft and changing major plot points. But I know I--and my story--will be stronger because of it.

Tom is awesome, but his handwriting is like Sanskrit. I need a decoder to translate it.


  1. Glad you're enjoying your course. I'm starting uni again in a couple of weeks (I think) and I'll be taking a creative writing module, and basically I feel physically sick with nerves over it. The idea of having to write stuff on the spot and then READ IT ALOUD is completely paralysing. (any tips you have would be appreciated :))
    Would love to read your story when it's done, do you ever post them on your blog?

  2. Isn't it amazing what a difference one person or one class can make in the approach to writing? Embracing change is such a tough thing to weave into your mindset, but it really does make such a difference.

    (That said, booooo to having to cut the whole first paragraph!)

    So glad you're having a great time at SU :)


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