Teacher/student dynamics

I decided to sign up for Cathy Day’s Midwest Writers’ Workshop online course “How to Start Your Novel.”

Oh, I’ve started it, Cathy. I’ve even revised the damn thing, but somehow I just fell out love with it. It’s not even just out of love, but more like a hostile dislike that would have me stalking this novel on Facebook, looking at pictures of it at the beach with other, more attractive writers, not giving a damn about me.

No matter how many times I tell students just to keep at it, to plug away line by line, sometimes you just need someone to help you get excited again, to hold your hand and help you breathe. Right now we’re outlining the novel Election by Tom Perotta, breaking it down scene by scene and I can tell already this is just what I need. To go back to the basics: what drives a plot? What motivates a character? Who tells the story? I know how to do this—hell, I teach others how to do this—but somehow that doesn’t matter. As a writer, I will never stop being a student. At least I hope not.

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