Just like that, and the first two weeks of the Creativity Workshop — one intro week, one actual writing week — are over.
Despite the fact that I’m an exhausted shell of myself today, thanks to four days of hosting out-of-town family (plus one impromptu day trip to Austin¹), the first week of actual writing was pretty much a success.
My first story for the workshop was loosely based on the Humpty Dumpty rhyme. It turned out much shorter than planned (1,251 total words), but it felt whole at that length, so I didn’t press for more. I enjoyed writing this story as much as possible, given the fact that the theme (irreparable brokenness) was sort of difficult and lent itself to a not-so-happy ending.
The characters popped into my imagination fully-formed. On one hand, we’ve got Humphrey Dempsey, a forty-year-old man who is ridiculously obsessed with breaking eggs and gluing them back together, 3-D puzzle-style. On the other hand, we have his wife Farrah, who is tired of seeing him waste his life on something ridiculous, stupid, and — in her opinion — pointless. Hence, conflict. That, I expected. Lots of little surprises arose along the way — thoughts about being satisfied with appearances rather than truth, thoughts about throwing stones while in a glass castle, thoughts about selfishness versus love, thoughts about futility and hope, thoughts about pretense, thoughts about vicious cycles.
All in all, the story itself is a blinding glimpse into this world. It’s short, but (I think) substantial. It could probably be better. I look forward to reading it after the workshop is over, then making changes to strengthen it. This was, after all, the first short story I’ve ever written. I’m betting it could definitely be better. That said, I like what I ended up with.
The Story Goals
One of my specific goals for this set of stories was:
I want contrast to be essential in my character development: characters who have similar motives, yet manifest opposite actions. (For example, two characters who both feel love, but show it in completely different ways.)
Specifically, this was at the very heart of my story. Humphrey and Farrah are both trying to fix something irreparable: Humphrey has his shattered eggs, and Farrah has, well, Humphrey. The manifestations of this are absolute opposites. Humphrey isolates himself, Farrah presses him for interaction. Humphrey is unburdened, for the most part, by what others think of him, while Farrah is obsessed with ‘normal’ appearances.
The Process Goals
As far as the process itself went, last week was a learning experience. I already touched on my difficulties with balancing discipline with patience. Flexibility in my schedule, as opposed to sheer rigidity, helped get me into a more creative place, and thus helped me to be more productive. One of my goals, also, was to shut down TweetDeck and all browsers. This was good and bad. Good, because I didn’t get as distracted. Bad, because it encouraged that rigid mindset. I experimented with both ways, and in the end found that as long as I am disciplined² to not go on rabbit trails whenever interesting tweets pop up, I actually feel more ready to work with TweetDeck open — it’s motivating to see others being productive and tweeting about it. I’m going to keep experimenting with this, though.
In the midst of the short-story-writing, I managed to get some (not a ton, but some) quality edits done on my novel. I’m encouraged by this, and ready to tackle more of it.
Generally speaking, I’m on track, but not completely on schedule. I haven’t done the get-inspired-by-these-pictures assignment yet, and have avoided most posted thoughts about them, because I still want to do it. Also, this very post is a day late, and I have yet to read the latest Merrilee post on organization. Last week was an anomaly, since we don’t often take spontaneous trips to Austin or have people at our house for half a week, so I’m not too banged up about being slightly off-schedule. At least the short story got done, and I’m mainly up-to-date on the other stuff.
Alright. Long-overdue date night is about to commence³, followed by some intense vegging in front of Glee and a smattering of NBC comedies. Or, maybe substitute some Curb Your Enthusiasm instead of the smattering…we shall see. Yes. Tonight I rest, tomorrow I’ll work.
May your notebooks be delightfully scrawled-upon, your ideas plentiful, and your shattered eggs perfectly cooked to your liking.
¹For those of you not familiar with Texas, you can drive for eight hours and still be in Texas. Fortunately for us, Austin was a mere 3.5-hour drive away from us. Out of sheer youthful ambition (ha) we tackled a there-and-back trip in one day, complete with eight hours of let’s-do-fun-stuff in between. Yeah.
²Italicized, because it is quite the conditional statement. Makes all the difference in the world.
³Why, hello, little buffalo wings and beer. You look mighty tasty indeed.