January 30th, 2017

Five with key

On to character

My two online writing courses - plot and setting/description have ended, though I haven't yet received my final grade. I don't think they do an ABCDF-style grading system - it's more of a pass/fail system - but I'm anxious to find out if I passed. I'm pretty sure I did fine in the plot class, but I'm not sure about the description class. The final assignment was to write the beginning of a story set where you grew up, so that the reader gets a good feeling for your "primal landscape". I had absolutely no interest in writing such a thing and turned in something that barely resembled what they wanted, so I'm sure I'm going to get poor peer reviews.

The next class in the four-class cycle is about characters. It doesn't start until next week, but enrollment started yesterday and you can start working on it as soon as you enroll. I watched the first week's lectures and I wasn't too impressed. The point for this lecture was that for a character to be interesting, he has to want something, but the lecturer was a bit rambly and she gave no concrete examples and no guidance on how to develop these desires or portray them to the reader. The professor for the plot class gave us tools such as Freytag's pyramid and the ABDCE structure for creating a scene, and then showed how they were used in familiar stories like Harry Potter. The professor for the description class explained concepts in description and setting development and then gave us readings that demonstrated what she was talking about. I came away with very little from this first class on character, which is sad since this is the part of writing that I need help with the most.

The assignment for the first week is this: Consider a show or book that you've viewed recently. Select a character from that work and describe what the character wants. Then, create a new character in that world - don't use a character that already exists. Give that character a desire, something they want. Then, write a short scene in which the two characters - the show's character and your character - talk to each other, so that the dialogue demonstrates your character's desire.

After reading this assignment, it occurred to me this class, which is a college-level writing class at a major, accredited university, not only just asked all of its students to write fanfiction, but to create an OC within said fanfiction. We fanfic writers are getting validation!

That said, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to write. My first thought was to have Martha have a conversation with a friend of hers, in which she's trying to tell her about being in love with the Doctor and being ignored by him without admitting he's an alien and they're traveling in time and space. Her friend, though, is the type that loves to steal boyfriends away, so she's trying to get info from Martha and find some way of meeting this guy. It seems to difficult to do, though, in an assignment that's max 400 words. There is also the problem, at least to my overly-analytical mind, that it won't be canon, since it's clear that Martha never returns to her contemporary time at all during series 3 except for "The Lazarus Experiment". Ah, the difficulties of being a canon writer.

Anyway, this should be a fun assignment, and who knows, it might turn into a full-blown story. I hope so. I haven't written anything real recently, so I'd love some inspiration.