I had applied to join a Blaze Creative Writing online course with Strathclyde University last November, so I knew that I would be writing in the ten weeks beginning 20 April. There are thirteen of us and our tutor, David Pettigrew, estimated our total word count for the course would be 9000. Therefore, I will have at least written that number of polished, not draft, words of my novel in progress. I am now at the final assignment and the problem is we have been asked to write the ending. The deadline is next Monday. Without an end date, I would dither endlessly. Still, I am consoled by the thought that thinking is a vital part of the process of writing. I do a lot of it.
As for ‘not writing’ I don’t include reading in that. Reading is a part of writing except that is doesn’t get the words on to the paper (or the screen). This course talks a lot about our reading and we have all added to our reading lists.
First of all, we posted, discussed and wrote our own novel first page which was very interesting, as, within the group, we have a wide range of settings, historical and modern.
Then, we posted our favourite first pages. Our tutor’s choice was Enduring Love by Ian McEwan. Find it here: http://www.nytimes.com/books/first/m/mcewan-love.html
Other good novel beginnings and titles which we mentioned are below.
The Trick is to Keep Breathing by Janice Galloway
The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
The Lies of Lock Lamora by Scott Lynch
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Clare North
Two classic books were put forward, Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and On Writing by Stephen King. I have read these early on in my writing life. Perhaps I should revisit them but do I have the time? I used to be very busy, out and about, talking to people. Now, I spend much time online responding to messages. Note to self – I must make progress with my own novel.