After the hectic and enjoyable month of February, these next two months will be a lot quieter. I’d like to thank all of those who kept up, followed, shared, and commented, making Black History Month Reading a success. Remember #ReadSoulLit has not seen its last days, its pressing on over on Twitter, Instagram, and on here. Please continue to link the hashtag when you blog or link to social media about books by black writers. This will help keep up the recognition that black writers so deserve. So why is everything quieting down for the next two months? Well I’ve enrolled in an intensive online writing course with Faber Academy. It’s called Getting Started: Writing Fiction (Intensive).
The course has about 15 participants mostly from England, an Australian, and me. The course started and
we’ve been challenged with writing prompts, but we’ve also been encouraged with George Orwell’s short stories (pretty fantastic writing). We’ve had to reflect on how much we read (I’ve got that covered), what we read, what to pay attention to, and we’ve discussed books we love and recommend and why. It was suggested we take a look at Reading Like a Writer A Guide for People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want To Write Them by Francine Prose. It so happens I have that one on my shelf and have already started reading it.
So far I’ve found the writing very challenging. I’ve done one round of writing prompts. We are supposed to write for 10-15 minutes on the ones that interest us the most and I found this excruciating. I could hear myself critiquing my writing as I linked one word after the next. I have to stop doing this or I’m never going to get over the hump. I must try to put myself in partial NaNoWriMo mode. I say partial because I need to focus on how I write things too. Tomorrow I’ll redo the prompts and maybe try the three that I haven’t done yet. I’m hoping that one of my attempts will jump out at me and that’s the one I’ll try to work on seriously. Try to make it detailed, descriptive, and interesting. This 500-word assignment is for Saturday.
I’ll also have the arduous task to critique two of my colleagues’ work. This should be interesting. This is what I usually do on this blog, with a twist of analysis and how I felt. In the end, it’s not the same thing. However, I’m glad that they gave us some specific guidelines to help us concentrate on the importance of writing. Here are the areas we need to consider when critiquing and I believe they are useful for book bloggers too: clarity – what kind of narrative is it? Is it clear? Is it easy to follow what is happening?, point-of-view – Who is telling the story? Do the view points change?, pace – Is the story lagging? Try to identify why you feel less engaged., characters – Are the characters engaging? Do we learn enough about the characters? Is there any information missing?, setting – Is there enough information about the place? Is the location clearly explained?, over-writing – Are there more words than are necessary? Are we told things that we as the reader can already work out?, and spelling and punctuation – work should be presented in a clean and precise manner. So poor grammar will be judged. As they say, being a careful reader is crucial to developing skills and awareness to help with writing. I’m pretty nervous about all of this but I’m throwing myself into it because I need the answer to the question that most of the other participants are asking as well and that’s, “Can I write?” So I hope you’ll enjoy reading my updates on this course and maybe a book review or two for the next 8 weeks….