Start at the beginning, go on ’til you reach the end, then stop.

Just realised that I haven’t put up a post today. I’m still feeling a little bereft after completing my course. My tutor kindly marked the last exercises overnight and emailed her comments to me this morning. I have a couple of edits to make to my little scene before I submit it for the final grade. And then it’s all over.

I’ve found the course very helpful. Getting started has given me a lot of grief in the past. I don’t know how to begin the process of writing a story so I’ve tended to just plunge in and start writing. I have no idea where I’m going or who I’m writing about. I just write, expecting the story to unfold in front of me in the same way that it does when you’re reading a novel. This leads to thin, disjointed scenes that run out of impetus pretty quickly.

The writing course provided a much more measured approach. The last exercises focused on what happens before you write the story itself. I was asked to write a synopsis, character sketches, the setting, and an outline of the action. And only after all these things were done, and I had a real grip on what the characters were up to, did I write the actual scene. I had a whole lot more to say than usual as a result.

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