Monday, January 17, 2005

The Writing Class

I am taking a a free, online writing course at Barnes & Noble University. The course is called "Writing Fiction with Gotham Writers' Workshop." The activity for the second lesson is as follows:

Make a list of everyone you have ever known, in any way. Include people you know well and people you have only seen from afar. Just list the names. Stop after you fill about two pages, listing the names in columns. If you don't know someone's name, put something like "the little girl who lives down the block." Everyone on your list is a possible inspiration for a character.

Well, I wrote down 132 names on my two pages and could have listed a lot more. As I was writing the names, I had pictures in my head of the people and remember certain things about them and their relationship to me. I was aware that each person could be a source of inspiration for a story. Each person was so full of life to me. It was an amazing exercise -- and it didn't take that long. I highly recommend it.

The second part of the activity was to take one person from the list and talk about how they inspired me. I chose my friend Cubic from the village in Kenya. Some day I will write a lot more about Cubic. I have tried to write about him in the past and it was difficult. I need to drag out my fieldnotes and read them. I am sure Cubic is all over them.

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