No—sorry—I can’t work out a whole plot-plan before I begin, story-arc and so on.
I tried doing character studies—you know—where you end up knowing more about an individual character than ever appears upon the page.
I did a writing class once—yes, another one—I did it to earn brownie points to get mental-health inexperts off my back—but I was also genuinely interested—it was about fairy-tale.
And—the woman who ran it—a planner.
I’ve got nothing against planners—some people can work no other way—but this person had it all down to the nth detail—her teaching, that is (yes, I know—I tried teaching—was it three times? or maybe twice…couldn’t do it…godawful job…and so I had some sympathy…I do try to be fair…after all, it’s not raining—haaa…(long laugh).
Yes, poor soul, she had to keep control of it all—so much so that we students couldn’t get a word in edgeways—
She told and told and told us what we were going to do.
I couldn’t, though—because I don’t write from the outside, from a thought-out plan, as she was advocating—I write from the inside—from what is already there (I garden in the same way).
I couldn’t come up with the goods.
I couldn’t write at all.
She misinterpreted me (as far as I was concerned) every which way.
She could not see where I was, or what I was doing.
I know. I’m a grown-up person now (some of me) and you can’t expect everyone to understand you.
But I wasn’t going to bow down to such—barbarity.
I couldn’t, anyway.
I met her since, and she seemed to think I was—an enemy—she still didn’t see where I was, though I could see her—almost clearly.
I’d thought I wouldn’t be able to hand in work for that class.
I didn’t care anyway—the class was about working towards a degree, and I already had a degree. I don’t know why I handed the stuff in, in the end.
What I did let her see—the essay (she wanted us to show her what we had, early, so she could direct it), she didn’t like much anyway; she’d give me a B, she said.
Unless I changed it—treated what I had sweat blood for—as a first draft.
I was still in degree-mode at that time, though I’d left university quite a few years before—and I didn’t do first drafts.
I didn’t work that way.
But this woman…
We had words.
As I say—I wasn’t going to hand-in (or submit, isn’t it called?)—but I already had something of a—what could be construed as a ‘character study’—you could hand in a character study, if you wanted, and I had nothing new—in the fiction department—
Oh—that was it—since I could produce nothing new from that course—fiction (I had the bloody essay)—I thought I may as well take the opportunity of testing out some of the writing that I did have—with this audience—the rest of the class—we would have sessions on our own, sometimes, where the teacher sloped off—
It was weird this stuff that I thought I’d let these people look at.
Even I could see it was weird.
And I couldn’t categorize it—it certainly wasn’t genre.
Isn’t ‘literary’ just another genre?
Discuss amongst yourselves.
Well—they liked it.
Previous to this, they had me down as a rebel.
And then they thought my writing might be…
But I ramble on…
I handed in the character study, and some of the weird stuff, and the essay, unaltered—and all I can say is—thank goodness for the second marker…
Yeah—sure—if I find that character study—yeah—why not—I might include it—
Just don’t expect it to be pretty.