Intro to Fiction: DAY ONE

First of all, no, I did not finish my first draft of Privateer this summer. However, I am currently at 108,208 words and climbing. When Charmaine manages to shut up, you will be the first to know. Well, after my roommate. Because I’ll probably sing and dance and cry. Maybe I’ll make it a vlog or something.

That was such a lie. I’m not going to vlog. That’s just not going to happen. But I may possibly make a video of me dancing and crying with joy.


I’m back at university, which means that yes, I will most likely return to blogging about my weird classes and my psychotic professors (of which, this semester, I have many. I don’t know why. I just get lucky). However, I will also try to talk about writing as much as possible. Which is why, I am going to write about my Intro to Fiction class, the very first fiction writing class I’ve ever taken.

See, I’ve always thought that you can’t really learn to write fiction by listening to a lecture or by reading how-to books. You just have to do it, write it, and make a great big mess that no one can ever figure out. Not even you.

But I am required to take this class for my major, so as I sat in the room with thirteen other, nervous-looking people, I was kind of wondering what I should be expecting. I’ve taken Playwriting I (blogged my way through that one, too, by the way), and that class was full of writing prompts and Spanish vocabulary.

So you can imagine my surprise when my Fiction professor swooped in like a magnificent, black-poncho-clad bird, and announced, “I DO NOT BELIEVE IN ASSIGNMENTS BECAUSE THEY KILL THE CREATIVE PROCESS AND ARE THE ANTITHESES OF IMAGINATION.”

Uh. I think I like you.

Prof. is a Pulitzer-Prize nominated author, and she writes (direct quote) “serious sh*t.”

She is, in a word, terrifying. But also wonderful.

And it’s possible that she could be Batman.

Then, as though I needed another reason to like her, she started talking about writing short stories, and then launched into an almighty rant about how we must tune our ears to the way people speak so that we can put it into our stories. “Musicality” is the term she used. Listening to the poetry, the music of language.

And then, Prof. talked about how naming characters is extremely important (because you can reveal a little about who the character is through their name), and I about died of happiness. See: my naming OCD.

We will be writing two short stories over the course of this semester, so I will likely be posting here about my random ideas, and the many problems I run into over the course of making them come alive. Brace yourselves. My brain during the school year is like a hurricane of WTF.

Here’s to the new year!


–Samantha Chaffin

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