Sorry for the May hiatus. The month really took over and I got lost in the fray. Back to my regularly scheduled blog posts!
I keep my house relatively clean, but I always have a few nooks and crannies where I store whole bunch of stuff. Junk drawers and closet shelves and plastic drawer sets that look organized when shut, but God forbid you open them. I cleaned one such space this weekend: a set of plastic drawers I’ve had since college.
This involved two drawers of college and grad school file-folders and notebooks and a hodge-podge of random items. (Including, thankfully, a second key to my car that I’ve been looking for for about a year.) One such random item was a spiral bound “text book” from the only creative writing class I took in college. I still remember being pissed I had to pay nearly twenty bucks for what my prof called a “packet.” It’s 213 pages (front and back printed) so in hindsight twenty bucks isn’t bad for college materials.
This tome is more than half short stories I had to analyze. Sorry to those stories, I probably didn’t analyze any of them properly. Theme was never my strong suit in school. Though now I might be able to get a better grip on it, since I’ve been reading a lot of writing craft books recently. Anyway, the second part of this packet is writing advice. I opened it expecting it to be some sort of “I’m a Writing God and here are my Rules!” Instead, the first section says there are rules, but you need to learn them before you break them; and when you break them it better be on purpose. Pleased, I decided to peruse the rest.
There are sections on plot, including how to come up with a plot or get out of being stuck, character, a lot on showing and telling (with great examples and details on when to tell instead), and even revision tips. This thing has a lot boiled into a small space. And yes, we also had to buy Burroway’s Writing Fiction, which I also kept. Based on how little I highlighted, I think we only read one chapter for class. I will definitely be revisiting this packet. I put it on my writing craft shelf, even though it’s spiral bound and battered from bouncing around in my old backpack. But hey, don’t just a book—or packet—by its card-stock cover.
Did you keep any materials from high school, college, or grad school that you’ve kept and used? Let’s discuss in the comments.