Novelists love learning all the ways to tell stories. That’s why I returned to college in the beginning of 2008, to learn how writing is being taught outside of writer workshops and conferences. It’s been a challenge and I’m considered an “alternative” student. I have a past career as a tech writer and a decade devoted to my hobby of novel writing. I’m trying to break bad grammar habits and business attitudes to learn academic writing requirements.
I was thrilled to take a class on screenwriting, and this is my second quarter learning this visual language. We are to write a first draft of a complete (movie length) screenplay this quarter. I’ve got two weeks to create the first 60 pages, the first half of the “movie”. It’s intimidating!
Before I begin new projects, I clear up anything that could get in my way. It’s helpful that all my girls have moved out, and I have access to an empty room that’s warm. I also have a book I wrote 5 years ago that I recently decided to revise. My teacher is OK with me using this story to adapt into a screenplay. The challenge will be keeping a focus on one main character, and showing in visual action, what was written as introspection. It’s also going to be half or less of the book. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot of respect and compassion for screenwriters who adapt books to movies.
Since I took a two year pause in my life, to learn how – and write – a memoir, the return to being the master creator of a fictional world is thrilling. It’s also nice to see what I’ve learned about story these past 5 years and entertaining to see I wasn’t too bad back then either.