Monday, July 18, 2011

Experiment 14 - Teaching

Soon I will be teaching two English classes in my community. My plan is to write my notes on this blog so that both my class and others can follow my unique teaching techniques.

I believe that writing itself is an experiment. Hardly ever does it come out right the first time. Every one of us has had our papers marked straight through with so much red pen that we feel like we have a physical representation of the bloody end of Hamlet.

But, as with Hamlet, no great work is created without that kind of blood. My UCLA screenwriting instructor, Brian Price, put it quite nicely. He said that if we ended with the same story we had at the beginning of the class, he hadn't done his job. Writing must change. Otherwise it becomes stale and boring. 

How shall we begin what seems like such a painful process? Experiment. Like a cook, we must find the essential ingredients, then find the right amount of each. If we view writing correctly, we will rejoice when the red pen tells us there is room for improvement.

To be a great writer you must accept critique of your work. Perhaps if you were perfect then you would not have the need to have critiques. But you're not. Trust me. There is always room for improvement. Always.

Zena Dell Lowe, a Screenwriting Professor at Covenant College, said that there are no finished works, only works that are satisfactory. As the famous phrase goes,"Writing is about rewriting".

That is so intimidating. Well, yes. But it can be done. People have been writing novels, plays, screenplays, and articles for years. If you want to write, you can. One of the most important things a writer must have is drive. Sounds too much like a Disney movie does it? If you believe in yourself, you can do it. Eh, Disney got that part right.

Writing is not about getting published or famous. Writing is about understanding yourself and the world around you. If you believe that you have a unique vision of the world, which you do, then write. Other people want to know, understand. Writing is just like a conversation with a captive listener.

You have a captive audience. Why not talk to them?