This week was one of those odd ones when I was supposed to go in and work at the station on Monday and then work the rest of the week from home due to the holiday. However, the main program I use to schedule all the commercials got overwhelmed with the start of year renewals and locked up mid morning Tuesday, meaning the remote link I use to work from home locked up too. Since Hubby was home because the high school where he works being out for holiday too, he was already handling most of the girls' studies for the day.
This meant I was free to drive to the station and reboot the computer the requisite four times to get our scheduling software to behave, which was handy since everyone else was just as busy. After everything started working again, I stayed to finish the last of the scheduling on the off chance the system would lock a second time. Then, of course, I had a couple of errands to run before going home.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is how I got blindsided by an unexpected year long commitment to teaching a creative writing course.
Confused? Perhaps a bit of background would help.
I've been fairly open about the fact I'm dyslexic and dysgraphic. The thing about all of the "disorders" that start with the "dys" prefix is they're genetic. The differences in how the brain's sequencing center is hardwired occur before birth even if the symptoms don't become clear until the child is several years old.
As you may have guessed by now, both my girls are also dyslexic and dysgraphic to one degree or another. Because of this neither girl is exactly excited to read or write even though they love hearing and telling stories. It's frustrating and exhausting for them at this stage. Any and all writing or reading assignments are met with whining and often attempts to get out of the work.
Hubby wanted to bring excitement and joy to these activities. We had just given the girls grandparents and great-grandparents paperbacks filled with the posts and pictures I'd put up in Diary of a Work-at-Home-Mom over the past several years for Christmas. So Hubby had the idea of having the girls write and publish their own book. He assigned the book, got them started brainstorming, and then forgot to tell me about any of this until we were sitting down to dinner.
As I said earlier, I was blindsided. Hubby wanted to use CreateSpace to get printed copies of the completed book the same way I did for the blog books we gave this Christmas. He didn't realize anything printed via CreateSpace goes directly to their online store, so the brainstorming for a "My Little Pony" fan fiction book the girls had cooked up earlier wouldn't be usable. I explained to him and the girls that they'd have to make up something that was all theirs if they wanted to get a printed copy. They did.
So, being the obsessive person that I am, I stayed awake half the night trying to think of ways to explain concepts such as world building, characterization, and story structure that had taken me years to learn in a way children under ten could understand and put into practice. Comparatively speaking, the writing method, grammar, and how to use dictionaries and thesauruses are simple lessons despite their importance as foundational elements.
Boo Bear has been talking about her desire to write books when she grows up for five years now. Sneak also has an interest in storytelling, but she's more visual and obsessed with the idea of making YouTube videos at the moment. She thinks in pictures, so video feels more natural to her.
I remember what it's like being so young and having your head full of stories. I didn't have enough confidence in my ability to read and write to even try writing any of them down until I was ten. The school I attended didn't have a creative writing class until my senior year, and there weren't any books on the subject in the local libraries either. We didn't have access to the internet until my freshman year of college, and even then the best we could get as far out as we were was overpriced dial up. It took six long years of trial and error, frustration, and dismal failures in amongst the occasional encouragement from family, friends, and one lovely school librarian to write a piece good enough to place in a local writing competition. I want my girls to have easier access to resources than I had growing up, so you better believe I'm going to do my utmost to give them the best creative writing course I can.
Since I'm already going to be doing the work, I've decided to offer the course here for anyone who wants to use it for themselves or their children. I will be coming at the course as if it were specifically for the speculative genres since that's what the girls and I all gravitate toward. However, most of the lessons will be applicable to any genre.
Lessons will go up every other Monday beginning Monday, January 5 and run until the beginning of November. Materials needed will be index cards, a notebook, and plenty of pencils or pens.
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Move on to Lesson One: Brainstorming.
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