As you might have worked out from the title of this post, I’m doing a writing course.
It’s online and is run through Chuck Palahniuk’s website (he doesn’t ‘teach’ the course himself, but it is run by a Chuck approved guy called Mark Vanderloo).
Every week we get a lecture to read, then we get an assignment that leads to the writing of a short story (between 1000 and 5000 words) that we hand in on the weekend to be read and critted by the other people on the course.
I have to say, it’s been a real eye-opener. Last week’s assignment asked us to pretend to be someone else for half a day, interact with other people as that person, then write a story as if you are that person. Fascinating. I went to Camden Market and pretended to be an Italian tourist. Gelled my hair up, laughed at stupid T-shirts etc., then I wrote a frankly disgusting story (I would put it up here for you to read, but my mum reads this blog. Then again, she’s probably read worse from me. If you want to read it, email me). It was incredibly liberating and made me come up with something I would never otherwise have thought of.
This week is dialogue, and I’ve spent the morning eavesdropping on people in cafes, writing down their most interesting soundbites and weaving stories out of them.
I heartily recommend it to any of you who want to stretch your writing legs a bit.