Saturday, January 27, 2007


I am drifting now between worlds. My life is diverging along separate paths at the moment - at work I am pretending to support the computer systems whilst worrying over whether or not the corporate IT team will come and steal my work and boot me out (they're head of service is the evil cow I had several run in's with during my brother's case). On Litopia I'm feeling less and less inclined to join in, there's nothing happening, and I can't be bothered to invest my time in critting other people's work. Then, of course, there is the new course, the NAW... and I've been moodling on the uni's website quite a lot. But, that's because hardly anyone else is. I guess they're all hurriedly attempting to complete their portfolios!

Well, I've succeeded as far as completing my portfolio for the qualifying module - and I've just got to post it off next week. My ego is telling me, "Hey, despite your angst about getting it done, it was real easy." My problem is that unlike my usual writing, I've thought (deep in my subconscious) that the NAW doesn't need me to exert myself as I have done on Litopia and in pursuing an agent.

It's not that I'm great, as we all know I'm not. Certainly my mentor (Solvey) points out, I've managed to leap (finally) into good writing, but I've yet to distinguish myself by doing something that makes the difference, that separates me from other "good" writers.

After my crits in the NAW workshops I feel I let myself down by entering something I wasn't entirely happy with. I'd been told enough by the Litopians what needed to be fixed, and my NAW's said (amongst other things) a lot of the similar stuff. And there was me assuring myself I was going to stand out from the crowd. Don't get me wrong, it was nice of my tutor (Nicola Monaghan - author of The Killing Jar... I've yet to read it) to tell me that I've got great prose (in places), and the work was clearly highly polished, and also for Charles Bennet (Doctor and poet) to compliment me on my articulation and ability with critiquing my fellow students, but I was hoping to get a few more pats on the back from my contemporaries.

Argh! Curse the ego! I know, I know! It's a good thing to be cut short and keep us from spontaneously combusting with self-love.

I'm not really feeling the love at all - for the second time I've critted someone from the course and the response has been a pleasant: "Your thoughts on my work are nice, but I don't see what you're complaining about, and I'm not going to listen." Which is nice.

So here I am, having finished the portfolio 1 week early - yay - and I'm not going to invest any more time in it, because I somehow know that it's enough just to complete the work to get on the course. Though it'd be ironically funny if it didn't.

So, what must I focus on? Solvejg says I need to stand out, and asks:
  • What are you interested in?
  • Wonderful, precise characterization?
  • Peculiar, disjointed sentences?
  • Exaggerated violence?
  • Juxtaposed interactions?
Aiye! How do I do that? I'll be taking my "good" 1,000 word story used for my NAW portfolio and add in 500 words... of something... amazing... that'll make it stand out. Which just points to the fact that I'm not going to invest everything into the course! Which is crazy, but it's not going to give me everything I want. I'm heading in a slightly different direction.

Must concentrate, must give it my all... but I'm only going to be getting a little out of it - let's hope not.

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