Saturday, September 3, 2011

Apprehension and Swagger

This year I was old enough to sign up for evening classes at the local vo-tech, so I went for the fiction writing class.  I didn't really know what to expect, but I figured even if it didn't cover anything new, it'd still be worthwhile.  Being around other writers, chances to learn new stuff . . . I was pretty excited.

    The first thing the teacher/instructor had us do was describe a character.  Randomly.  Then we had to pick three random character names.  And then write an opening scene.  She stopped everyone after a certain amount of time and have us read what we'd gotten down so far, so it was sort of a "write really fast with no clue where you're going and try to get stopped mid-sentence" sort of thing.

    And it's a blast. 

    What with the time restraints and all, I was just trying to get something down, but it's quickly evolved into something legitimate.  I'm pretty excited about it -- throughout revisions, there hasn't been much raw writing, and I've missed it.  This has definitely shown me that it's not a bad thing to be working on a new project while massively editing something else.  It keeps the writing fresh, you know?

    Anyway, now I bring you this quote from A. M. Rosenthal:

    "If you don't have a sensation of apprehension when you set out to find a story and a swagger when you sit down to write it, you are in the wrong business."

    Well said, Rosenthal.

    Now I'm working on balancing the revising -- priority number one -- and the plotting for the new project, but either way, I'm pretty optimistic about this new project.  The whole apprehension/swagger bit A. M. was talking about, I guess, plus it's still in that happy stage where everything seems simple.

    So what about you?  How do you feel when you start a new project -- and how long does that happy, simple stage last for you before the real work starts?