The leaves at the top of our maples are bronzing, a sure sign that October has started. By the end of the month those trees will be a vivid red against the crystal blue autumn sky. High above the patio, flying south for their long winter vacation, wild geese honk greetings.
More changes are happening in my writing life. Have you ever taken an online class? I’m taking my first, on writing Science Fiction and Fantasy. The difference in experience levels of the students is amazing, and baffling. I expected everyone to have a similar writing level. I was wrong. There are writers who have never tried to write a story and others, like me, who have finished a manuscript and are seeking an agent or publisher.
I am challenged by critiquing other students’ work. Critiques are part of the classwork. Because of the range in abilities, the shift is abrupt between reading a piece by a beginning writer, to an experienced writer’s work, and back again. I tend to speak my mind, so I’m practicing diplomacy as I review my colleagues. I’m learning about my own writing, not only from the critiques I receive, but by analyzing others’ work. Have you experienced anything similar?
The lessons are not hard. So far we have generated three story ideas and described our setting in a 500 word scene without letting our characters tell about the setting. This week we will describe our antagonist and protagonist, in 250 words each, and write the scene of their first encounter, in 500 words.
I didn’t expect a paradigm shift. I joined this class for my own enrichment. But I find I want to help the people in the class who aren’t as experienced, but who want to change and grow. I’m not a teacher. I’m not an expert. Nor do I play one on TV. I am willing to share what little I have learned.
What is your experience with online writing classes? What was the greatest take away for you?