Clarion West: A little More on Week 4

My workout regime has almost vanished and other than walking and yoga once or twice a week, my exercise comes from reading and writing. My sleep has improved about 3%. I’ve managed to sleep at least 7 hours – 3 nights since I got here. My bedtime is between 12 and 1 and I wake up before 7a. I’ve woken up before my alarm every single day.

I still love not cooking but I’m at the point where I can’t eat one more deli tray sandwich. A couple of times because I didn’t want to go out and find food I ended up having peanuts and wine for dinner. That’s called an airplane meal. I feel like there’s food everywhere but I don’t eat as much as I normally do. Yesterday I hoovered a huge plate of avocado curry for lunch but then I never got around to eating a proper dinner and instead had Wheat Thins (Big) and cashews.

I’m still totally in love with all my classmates. Here’s what we look like:

Clarion West 2008 with Cory Doctorow

Photo: Cory Doctorow

Our class photos are taken on Friday when we’re at our maximum in terms of sleep deprivation and brain deadedness. We’re even cuter in person.

The very back two are Pritpaul and Carlton. That’s Kira taking up two rows and in the blue shirt is Jim and the rest of his row is Christopher, Maggie, Owen, Douglas and Rajan. Then in the black shirt is Caren and rest of her row is An, Carol, Eden and Shane. The next row is Tracy, Theresa, Me and Kristin. And in front is our week #3 instructor Cory. Yes, that’s how he dresses. I should link to everyone’s URLs but I don’t have time right now. I should be writing and reading stories.

In other news I have gone 10 days without doing laundry. I haven’t gone 10 days without doing laundry since the 90’s. I’d try to keep it up and go 2 full weeks but then I’d have to go buy (or recycle, ew) underwear and that seems stupid when it’s so easy to power one single load through so I’ll do laundry tomorrow morning.

Can I mention again how much I love the never ending and completely unabashed nerdery? I’m already out as a nerd and live with one but it’s amazing to be in a house with so many of people that out nerd me on a regular basis.

Okay, here are a few writing things from Connie:

Only tell what the reader needs to know when they need to know it.

You probably won’t know exactly where your story starts until you end it. You need to start at the last possible moment. If you’re finding you have a lot of flashbacks, you probably need to move the beginning back.

When you’re working on your story you want things to go wrong. Take any situation and apply Murphy’s law.

Read Les Miserables and study for how the story is built and look for reversals and obstacles. Skip the boring parts.

The perfect title will mean one thing at the beginning and something different at the end. Or else go for something evocative.

When you’re looking for ideas: try to connect things not normally connected. Read stuff no one else is reading. Read tons of non-fiction.

She also told us: “You are never allowed to do a director’s cut.”

One more quote from the weekend:

Me – “We either need to go home or put some pants on.”
Kira – “If those are the choices, we need to reconsider our options.”

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