July 14th, 2013


why i will never take a creative writing class

I have this great creative writing book called What If?, which has dozens of excellent exercises for practicing skills and learning to think about storytelling--and I have never actually done any of them, even though for years I've meant to. Looking through it again today (and partly motivated by guilt), I realized why: every single exercise has an underlying assumption that just isn't true for me. Which is that the type of writing being done is 'real life' fiction, and not fantasy (and even more particularly, city-life real-life fiction). Oh, the basic skills would probably carry over, and I'm sure it would improve my writing, but the issue is that I don't want to write that kind of thing. I'm not interested in the guy having an affair; I don't want to write about the experience of getting mugged; instead of writing a modern-day fairy tale, I want to write a real one.

It's comforting to finally understand that it really isn't me, it's the book.

I may try to adapt some of the exercises so they'll fit with what I want to write, but if I don't, I'm not going to feel bad about it. A novel sensation, but one I wouldn't mind getting used to.