The beginning of the 4th week! I’ve meant to blog far more than this, but the weekdays are packed and the weekends have been spent recovering, either from the stress of the week or too much stress relief on Friday nights? Ah, yes. But here I am, more mentally tired than physical, and longing to sit in front of the television and turn my brain off just for an evening.  Or actually eat some different and amazing, food – I have never had such dreadful food in my entire life, and being only 7 months into the vegetarian thing, its somewhat distressing. (And I know I should not complain, but…yes.)

There are four ways (that I know of) to walk the fifteen minutes to class. Here is my favorite:

Walk to Class

I’ve also made it to the beach, which was simply gorgeous.

Sea

I miss John dreadfully, which in a way has helped me to work harder, just to keep from focusing on that. But then he sends me pictures like this:

This week marks the 4th story I’ve written (which makes me very happy – 2 more to go!), but I’ve warned my classmates it might veer more towards torture porn than they are likely comfortable with (myself included). Because I had hit a wall with inspiration after Bear week, I had figured I could write something Kiernan/Lee-esque (of course), since that’s what I enjoy so much. However, then the story veered into a social commentary on class with a main character who clearly has psychopathic and sociopathic tendencies. (And there goes the wider range of market possibilities!) But I have also tried to do this immersion thing within the wider scope of intrusion – as if the other elements weren’t enough of a challenge.

So that will be critiqued tomorrow (and turned in this afternoon, as soon as I find the courage to do so), with all my fingers crossed.

Also, here’s a summary of what I’ve learned so far…at least the things I’ve managed to scribble down. What I’ve actually learned is likely too broad to write down, but here is a taste (and the initials of the instructor it came from):

_____ is a story about ______ who must _____. We will know _____ has succeeded when ______. (EB)

Each character is an aspect of the same person (a common literary structure, insert inner curling shape, like the shell of a snail curling around its core). (EB)

What the character wants is in direct opposition to what the character needs. (EB)

Internal conflict is then driven into crisis, reinforced by external conflict. (EB)

Give antagonist try/fail cycle! (EB)

Only use exclamation points when: The! Galaxy! Is! On! Fire! (EB)

To keep a reader from getting ansty about not enough information: Set up first mystery, set up second mystery, answer first. Set up 3rd mystery, answer second, etc. (EB)

Right person right place wrong time? Wrong person right place right time? Right person wrong place right time? (NKH)

Option: The reader changes throughout the story rather then the main character! (NKH)

David Anthony Durham, our instructor this week, has already said some fantastic things regarding world-building, but I couldn’t find my pen quickly enough to write them down – hopefully that will change in the next few days.

Also, I have learned that reading about unicorns in stories doesn’t work for me, unless the unicorns are Diana Peterfreund’s, and/or have killer tendencies. Or, something else very creative that doesn’t result in Lisa Frank resemblances. Perhaps I just need to admit I’m on Team Zombie and that is that.

Also, in pimp-my-friends, The lovely Brooke Wonders reads for form and theme, and has been teaching me to do so, too – already I feel it’s improved my stories dramatically. Bonus, the equally as lovely Peta Freestone is teaching me how to grow citrus trees and what best I can buy and plant in our new house, upon the end of Clarion.

Tonight, David Anthony Durham’s Mysterious Galaxy reading. This weekend: SD Comic-Con