CW - Creativity Workshop Goals -- Diving In

Oh. My. I’m far behind and I’ve barely started. Can I do this?

::Holds nose and gets ready to dive.::


::Re-emerges, breathes, shakes water out of brain.::

Here goes:

Weeks 1 – 4: The role of ‘place’ in a story

As a relatively new Southerner, I’m constantly amazed at how much the change in latitude has changed my perspective on – well, everything. Like the realtors say: Location, location, location.

In this first chunk of workshop, I will write four stories in which a specific place/location/environment is crucial to the story development. I will be spending one week sometime during this segment on a work-related trip to the Texas Gulf Coast – and some of the same places we visited during last fall’s fun road trip. So, bingo, the Texas Gulf Coast will be the setting for my first four stories. Here are possible central elements of each of my four stories:
• Tree removal in Galveston of the massive old trees killed during Hurricane Ike
• Living on the concrete slab where your house used to be before Ike
• Fallout from the BP oil spill
• Eating shrimp, or something that emerges from my work trip

Weeks 5 – 8: Breaking the rules/breaking the law

Why do people break the rules? Break the law? What happens – good and/or bad – when they do?

In this series of stories, I will show or suggest enough of a character’s experiences and thought processes leading up to breaking the law that, as the character ‘does the deed’, it makes perfect sense to the character and at least imperfect sense to the reader. And what happens after they’ve broken the law? In these stories, something unexpected, possibly outlandish, I hope. This is where I want to insert that ‘social justice without a heavy hand’ bit. Yeah, I’m channeling Carl Hiaasen here… I don’t have specific story lines mapped out yet, but each story needs to be:
• Believable
• Humorous
• Hit a social/moral issue worth thinking about

Weeks 9 – 12: Taking the mythic journey through the heart of darkness, er, suburbia…

I loved Carol’s words from He says, she says: “Interesting = NOT ORDINARY (although ordinary can be elevated to the level of extraordinary by the way it is acted, written, or thought [expressed or otherwise]).” I don’t know enough about Joseph Campbell’s work on the mythic journey, but this seems like a good time and place for me to learn.

In this series of stories, each story will feature a different character engaging in some aspect of an epic or mythic journey. The characters are linked because they know each other somewhat casually – maybe they are in the same car pool, or work out at the same gym, or meet weekly in the unemployment office. They are ordinary people, and hopefully I can render them interesting and possibly even extraordinary in these stories.

My working schedule for this extravaganza:

Saturday and Sunday – I will probably spend the weekends fussing and fidgeting and call it pre-writing.
Monday I will do whatever research I need to have credible scaffolding/background/whatever for the story of the week. I will also do a bulleted list of everything I can think of that could or should go into the story. And write a short ‘flash fiction’ that captures something from and for the story.
Tuesday through Friday I will write. Minimum goal each day is 750 words, hopefully more. And NO editing as I write.
Friday I might also do a quick edit (who am I kidding; there’s no such thing as a ‘quick edit’) of my semi-completed story.

Oh, yeah, and crack of dawn. Or earlier. Coffee. Butt in chair. No email, no blog, no news, no nothing until I’ve reached my daily goal.

18 comments to CW – Creativity Workshop Goals – Diving In

  • Interesting story ideas and a great plan for reaching your goals, Natasha. “Extravaganza” … yep, it will be. 🙂

  • Well done, Natasha. Nice and clear 🙂 Late out of the gate, but definitely not in the back of the pack!

  • Wow, sounds like a good plan. Setting everything down always seems to make things easier, at least for me. Good luck.

  • Kinda scary to have to put all this down and then actually have to DO it! I think we have some of the same goals. I’m looking forward to comparing notes and seeing what we both can do! GO for it!

  • Wow, I love the sound of the “breaking the law/rules” one. That would be really fascinating to explore, especially in making it justifiable to the character. Your goals are definitely interesting, that’s for sure. Good luck.

    • Natasha

      I’m definitely interested in the breaking the laws one. I have NO idea how that will work out, but that’s part of the fun of it.

  • Wow!! That wanted to be three exclamations points but I didn’t want to be sent to the junk box. 🙂
    Great story ideas. They all piqued my interest. Love the “darkness, re, suburbia”.
    Very creative venture I can’t wait to read the finished product. I say you start breaking the law/rules and post it early. Consider it story research… *wink*

    • Natasha

      Well, saying I’m gonna do something, and then actually DOING it, are two totally different beasts. But I’m really curious to see where breaking the law will take me….

  • Suburbia as heart of darkness…. I love it! And after the course is over, I’d love to read some of those Texas coast stories. I’ve been to Galveston before — but I’m sure it’s another world now. 🙁 Must make for a fascinating (if sometimes horrifying) trip, though.

    And you’re doing GREAT at the Southern speak! Keep up the good work. 😉 (Where’d you move from, out of curiosity?)

  • Natasha

    We went through Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula last fall — a year after Hurricane Ike. It was heartbreaking to watch them cutting down block after block of beautiful live oaks that died after sitting in salt water from the storm surge. And I read online today that they are going to cut more down, now that they’ve ascertained they are too weak to survive. 40,000 mature trees — can you imagine?

    I will be interviewing about four dozen people next week in Texas (the topic is essentially boring) but if I can’t pull some decent stories out of the sidelines of those interviews, I have no business pretending I’m a writer.

    Lived most of my adult life in Massachusetts (which I love but NOT the weather) and the last 20 years I was there, in the ‘burbs (of course) north of Boston.

  • Wow, you’re inspiring me. I may just go ahead and audit this class, since you all seem to be getting so much out of it!

  • […] just looked back at my original intent for this final segment of the Creativity […]

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