Back to School

by Melissa Borg
September 7, 2021

Ah, September is the time for the kids to back to school. September is also time for one of my absolute favorite writing classes to be offered Story Structure Safari. The first time I took the class was in 2015. It was one of the toughest classes I had ever taken. I'd rank it up there with a few of my hardcore electrical engineering classes, where my instructors had thick accents and deep knowledge but limited capacity to instruct non-PhD students.

Thankfully, the instructor, Lisa Miller, was and is excellent. The material was difficult since it asked me to be methodical and intentional in constructing a story. By 2015, I had already written A Single Girl's Guide to Wedding Survival and was hoping to get a few pointers on how to make it better so agents would pick it up. Little did I know that I was going to have to do some deep edits to get the story in a shape before publishing and that I was going to take the next six years to dive into the subject of story and series structures.

The class is demanding and exhausting. At the start of it, I inform my family and friends that it's Safari time. They then know that I will be holed up with a notebook, lessons, colored pens, and sticky notes in my office working. This year I had started the class by downloading the lessons, reading them on my computer, and then typing up my notes. Umm, that didn't work well for me.

I must print the lessons out, handwrite the assignments, type up the responses, and then post to the classroom forums. Without the lessons physically in hand, I resisted working on them. The Welcome lesson went great, but the moment we moved to Lesson 1. I stalled for almost 5 days before I started on the homework. As soon as the lesson popped off my printer, I did sit down and pounded out the whole lesson in the afternoon.

A good reminder for me that I work best with physical copies of lessons and lectures and then move to the computer to refine and post things. Well, I better get back to the class and quit lollygagging.

Back to creating!

~The Working Writer, Melissa

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