Sunday, October 18, 2009

Glory in the Details

I'm home.  Still feeling overwhelmed, in a good way, about Kris and Dean's master's class.  

We didn't just learn about writing at this class.  We learned about different aspects of a writer's life, from budgeting to marketing, writing pace to contracts and all kinds of stuff in-between.  Some of the more valuable lessons I learned came from watching Kris and Dean react to new information.  They're learning all the time, and voraciously investigate anything having to do with writing craft, business, or their other interests.  

I try to learn about stuff, and I thought I'd done a pretty good job.  Well, sort of.  My sources of information about things like writing craft have been pretty limited, unbeknownst to me.  I'd forgotten a big, very important source of information.  Direct experience.  That means reading (for pleasure first) and then dissecting writing, among other things.  That also means listening to my senses, even if it means snorting dandelion pollen and then sneezing for two days afterward to get a description right.  

I get away from my office from time to time; I've even posted about escaping my desk to write, hopefully not with a note of superiority.  But it's literally been years since I've gone downtown to check out architecture, or savored a hot chocolate with raspberry sauce and extra whipping cream specifically to imbed the sensory information into my head in a way that I can later access for writing.  Taking notes helps.  I'm sure the wonderful staff at Mo's restaurant in Lincoln City thought I was nuts, but I took four pages of notes about the food--how it tasted, smelled, felt, the clientele, the view ...  When I sat down to write the story, I didn't even have to look at those notes.  The memories were right there waiting for me.

And of course there's writing practice.  Writing with a specific goal in mind--to get an effect, or to deliberately include scents on every page, or to express an opinion through character voice without actually stating what that opinion may be.

The different ways to get direct experience are still percolating in.  Until then, I've got to write with what I've got.  Tonight, in fact.  I'm pretty pooped but I could stand to write something that isn't an assignment, as fun as those assignments were.  (Some of them I have to say were ~fun~ assignments rather than fun fun, but I ended up enjoying the results anyway.)

It's good to be home.  I'll miss my writing buddies, but I missed my family lots and I'm all grins right now.  If Brian comes home that'll be even more beautiful.


Kai Jones said...

Sounds like you had a great experience, I'm so glad for you!

Kami said...

Thanks! It was a privilege working with such wonderful people. It's also really nice to be home again.