There was a phrase invented a while ago – ‘life-long learning’. I’m not sure whether it was to help older people keep learning things, keeping their brain active, to help stave off numerous age-related problems, or whether it was to encourage people generally to update their skills and adapt to work changes.
Whichever it was, I enjoy learning, so taking courses in new subjects from time to time is something I enjoy. Writing the books has made me realise that a lot of people out there are dedicated professionals who have honed their skills through years of study, while I just jumped straight in, transferring skills learnt in the work place, true, but still jumped in feet first.
This autumn I’m taking an evening class in Writing Prose Fiction with the Unthank School of Writing. The tutor is from the well-respected writing courses at UEA (University of East Anglia). Although it is only an introduction, I think the challenge of writing for the course, and learning how to critique, will do me good. Last night was our first meeting. We wrote an obituary for ourselves by way of introduction – and it had to include two lies, which we then guessed. The point being that if you are going to lie in your fiction, make the lies close to the truth to be more effective. We discussed many things about the habits of writers and also wrote another piece using three key phrases. It was wonderful seeing how other people approached the task. I thought everyone else’s was much better than mine, but this morning I woke up seeing it as a short story with a bit of a twist. It’s probably obvious. Maybe I’ll work on it and post it here for you to comment on.
I have now downloaded three of the recommended books, two of which I noticed a number of other authors recommending. I must read them, and also finish reading the ones I have listed as reading so I can review them for you. My homework for the week is to find a passage or short story that provokes strong emotions in me and analyse what it is about it that creates that emotion. I’m having trouble thinking of one at present. It could take a lot of reading to do that too.
You could hear a lot more about this course!