This semester, I've learned so much about writing, thanks to my professor, Tom Bailey. He realized how eager I was to learn, and he treated me like a serious writer. His Intro Fiction class is my favorite class I've taken in college so far, and it has made me a much better writer. Here are some of my lessons from Tom and Intro Fiction:
-Just because I want something to happen in a story doesn't mean it fits or makes sense. I used to create situations in my stories and thought readers would accept them because I said so. Now I always stop to question "Is this realistic? Would this character really do this?" before/during/after I write.
-Don't be afraid to delete. Most of the time, my story becomes stronger after I've cut meaningless description, dialogue, characters, and plot points.
-"Good" writing isn't just flowery description. The characters drive the story. If they aren't well-developed and realistic, my story (while prettily written) will not be strong.
-Never shelter my writing. My stories became stronger after criticism from Tom and my classmates. I wouldn't have the stories I do today if I'd kept them hidden on my laptop.
-I cannot come up with a good title. Tom has changed every single title I've come up with for my drafts. No joke.
-Fiction deepens feeling. This is a direct quote from Tom. While fiction might be made up, its readers feel the truth in it. It has to be honest, relatable, "truer than true."
-I'm a talented writer. This semeseter is the first time that a successful writer (meaning someone who is published, a tenured creative writing professor) has validated my work. Now I know this is something worth pursuing, that I'm not just wasting my time. I have a shot at being successful.