Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Loft class

As I mentioned a blog or two ago, yesterday (Monday) was the first day of my new class at the Loft. It's called Grounding the Fantastic and it's taught by David Oppegaard. I love a new class, not only is it good for discipline and general output, but I enjoy reading and responding to other people's work and having my work read and responded to by others. It's a thrill, because you never know what you're going to get.

Who's got ability?

Who's got delusions?

Will there be anybody we might want to invite to the group?

And a story critique from a brand new group? I always like those. I believe they can be the most helpful, because sometimes the most pure response to your work can come from complete strangers. For one, the general response can be very telling. As the saying goes: If one person says you're a horse, ignore it. If two people say you're a horse, consider it. If three people say you're a horse... buy a fucking saddle. I mean, as a general rule, I don't really give a shit about a particular person's personal opinion of my work, after all, you can't please everyone and if they don't like your stuff, then they don't like it, that's just the way things go sometimes. What's important to the process is trying to separate that opinion from the real issues. For instance, some folks may not like "dark" heroes, that's their thing, but others may just be upset because the character didn't come across the way it was intended to, that's my issue. If someone doesn't "get" the story, then the question becomes: Why didn't they get it? Could I have been more clear? What adjustments can I make going forward? Was it me? Or was it just them? So there's a lot of good responses possible, the key is to listen to what they're saying, not how they say it.

So that's exciting. And honestly, so far so good, as far as the class is concerned. The "Teaching Artist" (as they call the Instructors at the Loft) seems like a good guy and the rest of the classmates seem like they're gonna be an alright bunch, too, with lots of different levels of abilities. Plus, it's nice to be in a room full of nothing but geeks. I like to support the geek community when I can, especially when the Loft provides so few classes for us, so when they do, I'm there. Best yet, (knock on wood) the class seems to lack the usual cast of annoying players that a class, especially a workshop, can sometimes attract. There's one Poetry person, of course, but what're ya' gonna do? Those people are the weeds in the garden that is a Writer's community, there's always one, somewhere.

All in all, a good class. I'm looking forward to more. Although I'm not sure what I'll submit. There's a 12 page, double-spaced limit and the closest I have to that, that's complete, is just over 16 pages, so I might not be submitting any new stuff, which is disappointing.

We'll see.

See, I'm really big on submitting a complete work, or at least, a complete piece of a larger work. My biggest pet peeve during a critique session is when readers can't seem to grasp the idea that, as a smaller piece of a larger work, the entire story isn't covered within the few pages they have, that there will be more of the story revealed--that some questions will be answered--later on. I don't understand why this is so hard to understand sometimes.

"Ah-dur...This part wasn't resolved..."

Of course it wasn't! This is 20 pages of a 300 page book!

And it's even worse when you can only submit a smaller part of an already small section and you have to repeat a dozen times: "Uh... yeah, there's more pages, but since we have a limit... I couldn't submit the last couple, so that's... of course... answered a couple of pages later..."

Fucking maddening.

So, we'll see. I still have a couple of weeks to decide on a submission. Maybe I can get him to bend and allow a few more pages. The whole piece is only 4100 words long! That's nothing.

Come on, people!


Shawn Enderlin said...

Yes, I remember submitting Chapter 7 to the class we had with Lyda. There were a lot of people who were ^completely^ Freaked out and unable to deal with that. You, Mark, and Lisa were one of the few who didn't have a meltdown. :-)

Have fun with your class!

Jon said...

It's always shocked me that people don't just assume that, since it's not a short story, there must be more to the story and just roll with what they have. It's surprisingly common, though. Why is it such a leap?