Week 1 of Write About Dragons has officially launched. It’s a week late, which I didn’t realize until I’d already watched an old lecture and submitted my first 1,000 words. So, this Monday the new lecture was posted and the rest of the world uploaded their first submissions.
I decided that there was no point in reposting, so I submitted my second 1,000 words.
So far the responses have been delightful. Most have been overwhelmingly positive, with questions that make sense, and have really helped open up my mind to some ideas and thoughts I hadn’t considered before.
Then there was one person who was just plain rude. Not sure if that’s how they intended it, but their lack of punctuation made it hard to understand. Anyway, I was initially upset. Everyone else has enjoyed what I’ve submitted and have had a lot of great points about possible outcomes or plot developments. But this person attacked me. Called it “grandiose”, said that I made “mistakes”, and overall was just unfriendly. Didn’t point out anything that they liked about the piece, nothing.
I get it. Not everyone is going to like my story. That’s fine. But, if you have nothing good to say, and can’t spin criticism in a constructive way, don’t comment. There have been plenty of pieces that I simply couldn’t think of 150 words to say that would be positive, encouraging, and helpful. So I didn’t comment.
So, I took a step back from this person’s comment. Let myself cool down. Then re-read it, attempting to be more objective. They had a couple of good points, but I don’t want to take them under consideration because of their overall tone and sheer rudeness.
So, I clicked the little down arrow.
There are arrows next to every response. You can up vote a response if you found it especially helpful, or you can down vote a response if it was hurtful or inappropriate.
But, other than the one negative nancy, the class has been amazing!
Sanderson’s lectures are eye-opening. “Writing is a skill.” I know I’ve been taught that, but I’ve never heard it put so bluntly. It’s not inspiration, it’s not luck. It is skill. How do you improve a skill? Practice.
Also, practice what you want to write. Do you read novels? Do you want to write novels? Why are you writing short stories? Write novels!
That blew my mind.
And then terrified me. I’ve been writing short stories. And I do read short stories. And I’ve had short stories published. But I want to write novels. I read more novels. I haven’t written a novel!
For a brief moment it felt like starting over. Like I had no experience and I’m fumbling in the dark. Then the logical side of my brain intervened. I have almost 27,000 words. I’ve been published multiple times. I’m going to finish a novel. I’m at least good at this. Not great. But good.
Sanderson is going to make me better.
Another great aspect of this class is the writing group. You’re supposed to join a writing group, and critique each other’s work. I joined with a built in group. Adam and Gillian. They are two totally different people, with totally different writing and workshopping styles. They rarely notice the same details, and always see things differently. I am lucky to have them.
They’ve both sent me their first 1,000 words, and they are totally different. It’s all fantasy, but the worlds, creatures, and magic are all completely different. It’s amazing to read, and know who created it. To see little glimmers of Adam’s jittery excitement, and Gillian’s methodical, and well placed details. None of this is visible to the blind reader. I can only find them because I know these writers.
I’m sure they find similar things in my writing.
Anyway, my goal is to do a class wrap-up at the end of each week. I’ll talk about the lecture, and what I learned from it, and my submission and its responses. As well as the progress of my friends.
I’m really excited! As I’ve said, it’s been extremely positive and full of learning. Best decision ever!