Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Lesson About Writing

or was it?...


I've always felt like I should be writing a book. A novel to be precise. Most of my life that feeling has been there. I love to write. Sometimes. But I don't have much of an imagination. So I'm not sure why I have always felt this- especially the part about writing a novel. I don't even read much fiction. Give me a good book of facts and I'm all in. Last year, I thought that blogging would satisfy that feeling. That I just needed to write. Period. But that feeling is still there.


So, I happened upon some free e-books about writing (thanks to a page called Pixel of Ink on Facebook). I thought since I've always felt that way about writing, it would be a good idea to start reading about writing. I've started reading 3 of them so far. All three mention more than once that writers do not write the way that we are taught in school.

One of them in particular, (How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play by a Barbara Baig) mentions several times how the way we are taught writing in school and are graded on our work inhibits out creativity. Go figure. Another argument for doing homeschool different with my son than the way I have been programmed.

Another of the books I am reading, Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go by Edgerton, Les, is all about opening scenes and explaining about how to get your characters involved in various conflicts.

I spent the weekend following up on an inspiration I had. I was busy doing research about a couple of my ancestors who I learned about during the summer when I was doing our family tree. I thought if I could find out more facts about them and the times they lived in then I could mix them up, put them together somehow, and trick my factual mind into making a work of fiction out of the whole thing.

My research led me in all sorts of directions. Mostly things pertaining to Scotland, and the South in the 1800's. I am learning more history than I ever learned in school because it is relevant to this wild goose chase I'm on.

I shared some to the things I was learning with Padawan and talked to him about story ideas. I asked for his ideas to see if they would draw out any creative juices lying dormant somewhere in my psyche. Or I thought could at least borrow his ideas and expand on them, because he has plenty of creative ideas!

I also had the BRILLIANT idea that this would be a GREAT way to secretly school him in an unschooly way in the area of Literature and Language Arts- because that is the one area that I would love to see him show a little more interest in..not that there is any rush for him to learn this stuff.

All that I have been learning about writing led to the following conversation with my dear Padawan as I was trying to give a covert writing lesson pertaining to my new interest.

Me: About my story. Here's what I need to do. I need to have a main character who is the good guy (or Protagonist) and another character who is the bad guy (or Antagonist) who is not necessarily evil- just against the good guy. Then I need to give the main character a big problem and then a bunch of other smaller problems.

Padawan: Moooooom, YOU.don't. have to write your story that way. That is someone else's way of writing a story. You should write your story the way that you want to.

Me: (playing dumb). What do you mean?

Padawan: (Goes off into comparison about designing Roblox uniforms from a template). Moooooom, its like this. If you were designing a shirt on Roblox with a template then it would only be partly your design, but if you make up your own template then it who's design is it?

Me: (Giggling uncontrollably because once again I failed to outwit my son, and I was surprised he recognized that as a template) Thank you little professor!

Him: Why are you laughing?

Me: I was trying to sneak in a lesson about writing while asking about my story. (I figured I may as come clean now). By the way, did you already know what Protagonist and Antagonist mean?

Him: (Rolling eyes) Yes. I.learned.that.in.3rd.grade. Mrs. (insert teacher's name here) even taught us about... (he goes into a ramble about the story template that I was talking using different voices as he mimicked his 3rd grade teacher.)

Me: (Me thinking- but.but.the book said they don't teach it that way in school..they didn't teach me that way in school). I should have known...you learned everything there was to know in 3rd Grade. Well, when you find something that you didn't already learn in 3rd Grade let me know so I can teach you something.

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Another round in the battle of the minds:
Padawan 1
Mom 0
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