In other news...
Gallifrey One is just around the corner! I'm a bit disappointed that I haven't felt like preparing for it, so I don't have any cosplay readied or anything, but I am still very excited. And I'll be seeing friends and meeting new people! My husband is disappointed that there's only one Doctor, but I'm looking forward to almost the whole cast of Gallifrey (including my favorite Narvin).
The class on writing character is going marginally better. I'm still not fond of the professor and the lectures are still not as focused as I'd like them to be, but the assignments are interesting and instructive. Her style reminds me of something that Feynman once said, when he was talking about learning to draw from his artist friend. He said that it's difficult to teach someone how to draw, because you cannot tell them how to do it. You can't say, "Don't draw your lines that thick," because some artist somewhere has used thick lines and made it work. I feel the instructor is doing it that way, by saying some generalizations about how to go about creating a character without saying any specifics because she doesn't want the student to think that's the only way to do it.
Next week's assignment, which I've already finished, is particularly interesting. It's attempting to teach you to build a character's personality, history, and background and to know everything about the character before you even start writing, by asking you to write a scene about the character without the character in it - all you can do is describe things, to imply things about the character that the reader must infer. At first, I thought it was going to be a difficult assignment, but then I got an idea and it came out rather easily. I modeled the character after my boss - he's the type that has to have every object in exactly the right place - and wrote a scene in which a busboy has to clean up a table that the character had been eating and studying at for hours.
After submitting my assignment, the other part of the work is to read and critique three other people's scenes, and I found that people had a very difficult time with the assignment - two of the ones I read completely missed the point. One flat-out described the person and his inner thoughts. The other described in gorgeous detail the bar that the character had been in, but I was unable to figure out who the character was (the bartender, the waitress, the owner, etc.) or anything about the character other than he had left the room while he was working. The third one I read did describe the character through implication, but was more concerned with the dialogue and internal thoughts of the other characters that the character in question was a very minor part of the scene. I really hope that people feel that I did the assignment correctly, that they got an idea about the implied character.
The next assignment is supposed to be a dialogue between two people that is overheard by a third character, and it shouldn't have more than three speech tags, so that you use the dialogue itself to differentiate between the two characters. I am particularly bad at this - I much prefer to have my characters moving and gesturing while they speak - so this is going to be difficult.