Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Novel Idea

Though I've always stuck to writing short stories, I've been slowly building up a catalog of ideas for novels in my head.
This semester of college (my last semester, for those counting) I've got an Advanced Writers' Studio class in which the students are to pick a personal writing project to work on through the semester and turn in about fifteen pages of at the end.
My first thought to this assignment was "wow, only fifteen pages? Sure that's going to take some time but given how much short story writing I've done recently, it shouldn't be too difficult". After all, I've got three "finished" short stories that I feel represent my current level of quality, and a fourth one (first draft) halfway done. If I wanted to, I could even turn those all in and have an easy semester.
Then I realized, that's not why I signed up for this class.
Advanced Writers' Studio is a capstone writing class meant for students majoring in writing, which I am not. It is not required for me to graduate in any way, I'm taking it as an elective. I signed up for Advanced Writers' Studio so I could take advantage of my last semester and improve my writing, maybe even challenge myself.

As much as I didn't want to start writing my first novel until I felt I was talented enough to make it publish-worthy, I realize that, aside from the normal struggles, there's not much challenge left for me in short story writing. That's not to say that I've perfected the craft and that there's no room for improvement, it's just that I've gotten too comfortable with writing short stories. I need to move on to the next level. I need to use this class to improve myself.

I've got a novel in mind that excites me to think about. It's a dystopian novel with social commentary, which means I get to invent an entire world and give it real meaning.

Maybe I'll surprise myself.

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