Tonight local author, Rex Paul Martin gave the first of a 3-course, 3-week writing class. Not only is the class free, but he generously donated a copy of both of his books to each participant.
This little fishing town only has about 2000 year-round residents, so the class was small, but full of talented and friendly writers. We all learned something new about the many topics that were covered; publishing, the craft of writing, voice, inspiration and goals. The class was led by Rex, but our own hints, tips, comments and questions were graciously welcomed. No one stole the floor, as I have seen in other writing groups.
Although I’ve been to many kinds of writing groups, classes and conventions, it was my first time with a round-robin exercise. Wow, that was fun. We each wrote a first paragraph of a story in the composition notebooks that Rex provided. Then we passed our book to the left and wrote a paragraph of the next story, until everyone had written in each of the notebooks. With just minutes per paragraph, it was tense, to say the least. This create-on-demand scenario turned out some interesting pieces, and it was such a relief to finish. It almost felt like an exhausting workout–well it was–a mental workout!
What I found interesting was that most of the stories took drastic turns from their beginnings, while others just moved the same story along in an expected flow. We did this exercise at the end of the class, so that we had a hint of the other participant’s personalities. It was not hard to hear the individual writing voices, however a few blended into the original writer’s voice without a hint of the new voice. Both styles were enlightening and entertaining.
Next week we’ll bring a short story or poem that we write, do group critique, then rewrite for the final class. I’m looking forward to the next class.