Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Free Writing

I am taking a three week writers workshop from my local community education department. The teacher had us free write, which is writing without correction or pause, in response to prompts she gave. It was a little intimidating, but I was surprised at what came out of me when I let go. Of course I held back a little when my mind wandered down the darker roads because I didn't want to freak anyone out on my first day. Nothing bad. The prompt was, "It was the first day of..." So I went with "...the new year, and I had resolved to never drink again. Unfortunately it was also the night of the bachelor party, and I was the best man." Pretty soon I'm talking about strippers and her hairy knuckled escort. The mental brakes brought me into a tailspin thinking, I have to read this aloud.

The teacher participated in the drill too, and read it to us. I was amazed. She talked about the first day of college, how she wanted to back out once she got there. I can't reproduce her prose, but I remember this line: "I didn't know if I wanted to plant myself in a garden of strangers." She has a background in poetry--and it shows.

My friend Joe sent me a link that pokes fun at Chuck Norris. You can find the whole thing here, but my favorite is this:

Chuck Norris sold his soul to the devil for his rugged good looks and unparalleled martial arts ability. Shortly after the transaction was finalized, Chuck roundhouse kicked the devil in the face and took his soul back. The devil, who appreciates irony, couldn't stay mad and admitted he should have seen it coming. They now play poker every second Wednesday of the month.

I'm almost finished with the book Father and Son, so I'll review it tomorrow. I've been a little scarce on other blogs. I will visit everyone soon.


Shesawriter said...

You know, that's funny. I never really considered Chuck Norris as being attractive. In fact, I can't stand him. LOL! Oh, and I love "garden of strangers" too.


Shesawriter said...

BTW, I'm too anal-retentive/ADD to even attempt free writing. My internal editor ALWAYS (without fail) wins that battle.


Eve said...

Free-writing is scary - but essential for any writer. That's the way I write - as I tried to explain when I posted my scenes - they're all free written.

Kathleen said...

I've seen that quote about Chuck Norris before and was wondering about the "rugged good looks" part as well. Of course, isn't he really short? Or am I confusing him somebody else?

Not sure I'm capable of free writing...I'm too anal about writing perfectly - hand-writing and grammatically.

Scott said...

Tanya - I thought I was too anal to do the exercise too, but I got through it, and found that I wasn't embarassed to read it aloud--except for that stripper stuff. You should try it sometime. I know how you feel, but try it and see what happens.

Eve - Your scenes were amazing Eve, and I didn't get the sense at all that they were free-written.

Kathleen - Read the whole post and you'll see that the rugged good looks thing is a parody on his egotism. As I said to Tanya, so I say to you: give it a try. Dare to make no sense at all and make mistakes.

magnetbabe said...

I've been having trouble writing lately. I used to write lots of poetry but haven't been able to produce in like a year. I feel like whenever I try it sounds like someone else. Like I can't find my own voice. I wish I had someone like your teacher to help bring out the inner me!

none said...

Free writing is essential at times, and rough drafts should be rough. I blame the computer for a lot of problems writers have with drafting and learning how to revise well.

We should all have an old typewriter for first drafts.

In our group recently, I had them write rough drafts, 2 pages per day, no editing, no spellchecking, don't even hit that backspace or delete key.

On the whole it was successful, but it would have been better if the drafts were done on a typewriter. I am about to PULL MY old typewriter our! I wrote my best fiction on that monster!

Scott, I am glad you are in a creative writing class. You are a wonderful writer and you need to be in college!!!!!!!

Tee said...

That sounds like a cool writing exercise. I love the quote from your teacher and the Chuck Norris thing is hilarious.

Tee said...

By the way, Scott - this is a totally appropriate time for me to mention a book I think you will value as much as I have. It's not expensive, it's an easy read and is something I think every writer/artist/creator should own.
I've read mine and highlighted large portions of it.

Art & Fear

Eve said...

Scott - Thank you - you really made my day! Yeah, the only stopping I do is for the occasional synonym when I realize that I'm using the same word over and over (and that's only if the "voices" have slowed down long enough) or if the scriggly red line shows up - I can't ignore it when Word tells me something is spelled wrong. I can't wait to get back to writing - January!

Scott said...

MagnetBabe - I can relate to the rut you are in. This blog used to be for "serious" writing, but I've since lightened up. I'm taking a workshop, which is only an hour and a half, once a day for three weeks, so this is just a shake-me-up. Find a class somewhere close by.

Janey - Thanks for the complement. I'm not sure I can just pull out the old typewriter, but I will give this free writing thing a whirl for a while. Like I said to MB above, this is only a workshop meant to inspire creativity, but the teacher does know of some programs locally that might suit my needs. I really do want to pursue this. Comparing her talent to mine, I realized how much further I have to go, but I also noticed how far I've come. I am grateful to have you looking over my shoulder too--so stick by me.

Tee - Glad you liked it. As for the book, thanks for the recommendation. Janey gave me two books to read on craft, so your title is third on the queue. I always appreciate what inspires my writer friends.

Eve - You are most deservedly welcome.

Moni said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mr. schprock said...

This reminds me of several drawing classes I've taken where you're only given 30 or 60 seconds to sketch a model. It was maddening but good for me ( suppose).

I am a very, very slow writer. I don't know how I'd make out in this class.

I'm really glad you're getting so serious about your talent, BTW.

Moni said...

I did post but, after I had posted I read the post and found I had a grammatical error. hehe

Now...I was going to say, before I rudely interupted myself by having a massive brain fart was:

Your writing class sounds interesting. I'm sure you'll do wonderfully in it. :)

Poor Chuck Norris, I heard somewhere that he was the most unrecognizable of all the celebrities. Well, at least people know he's famous...they just don't know what for. ;)

The Zombieslayer said...

Pretty soon I'm talking about strippers and her hairy knuckled escort.

Dude, that's awesome. Too funny.

As for that Chuck Norris, yeah, I love the top 30 facts about Chuck. There's one for Mr. T too.

In defense of Chuck, he really did know his stuff. He was a martial arts champion for years before getting into acting. he's not like ballet boy Van Damme. Chuck's legit.

Mr. T is legit too. Used to be a bodyguard for some famous people, most notably Muhammed Ali.

Dixie Belle said...

Keep us updated on your class. I took a correspondence course through UT years ago and I really enjoyed it. It also led to my first sale to a magazine, The Blue and Gray. It was an article about a Confederate spy.

Miranda said...

*clap* Turgenev's Father's and Son's is one of my favorite books!
I expect your Father and Son will be right up there with it once I've read it!

Jenn said...

Dude, I remember free writing. It IS intimidating. Hmm... I wonder what would come about if I did it now.

Actually, I think I might try it and go with "It was the first day of..." as well.

You know how you said you wanted to keep from the darkside of it. You think it comes natural or something, because even thinking of it, I think that's where it'd go if/when I do it.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

That's chuck muck gold right there.

Scott said...

Mr Schprock - It sounds like you'd do find in a workshop like this. The whole point is to write without thinking to much, so maybe you'd benefit from letting go. You probably write slow because you are carefully considering every syllable.

Moni - It's ok to free write your comments here! Chuck Norris used to be very popular when I was younger. He fought with Bruce Lee in a movie once, and did quite well for a disposable enemy.

Zombie - You don't have to defend Chuck to me. I know how accomplished he is. I found the whole post to be amusing that someone actually thought so much of Chuck Norris to pick up on his ego.

Dixie - I hope the class leads to at least a good institution for continued education. I asked the teacher at the end of class, as I was jumping her car in the frozen parking lot, if she knew of some places to go. We'll see what leads come of it.

Miranda - Um, probably not.

Jenn - I think you just need to go where your inner voice beckons. Most other writers will probably be released by your candor.

Toast - It sounds good, but I have no idea what you are talking about! I have a feeling you just shared some English slang with me.

Kathleen said...

I would have to free write on paper with an actual pencil or pen. And even then I'm sure I would fix as I went along. I hate proofreading, so I do it at the same time as I write.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Derived from the phrase 'Slice of Fried Gold'which means 'really good'


Person: "That directors cut of The Little Mermaid where she gets eaten by a killer whale was a slice of fried gold."

Robot: "YES. QUITE."

Blogger said...

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