Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Commuter to Reality: Beyond the Veil

I write because I believe there is more to this world then we can see at first glance. While "realistic" fiction may speak to the events of the day, speculative stories weave a golden thread in the February gray of the everyday. Like the population of Storybrooke(Once Upon a Time), we have forgotten the other side of our life. Like Frodo, we are on a quest larger than we can imagine, that draws from all the old tales and never ends. And like any of the Doctor's companions, we are meant to break the bonds of space and time.
To quote the title of a C.S. Lewis article "Sometimes Fairy Stories May Say Best What's to Be Said." Unfortunately, that will not be the case for Eng 2---, 'Writing of Fiction.' In the first class period, the professor announced that fantasy, sci-f, and magic realism (as well as historical and young adult) are not permitted genres for the one story to be written in the class. Furthermore, a plot summery is required before writing the story--extremely irritating to my pantser tendacies.
Although I can see why those restrants are in place, I am already struggling to find the gem of an idea. Most of my ideas are sparked by other stories or dreams I have--both of which tend to be of the Time-Lord/dragon/flying variety. All my best stories start with an image or an emotion, whether it's three roses in a color darker than black, richer than red or intense shame. I do have a plot, as such, but without an image or an emotion, it lacks potential.
If images are the heart of my stories, this image suggests why I write fantasy. Why bother with the pattern on the curtain when there's something hiding behind it.?


  1. Not to encourage student defiance or anything, but I wonder if there's a way you can creatively break this prof's rules without actually breaking them? Steampunk comes to mind...what an annoying class!

  2. Well... that would get on my nerves, because I agree with everything you're saying. But I'll pray that God will inspire you to look at the veil itself in a new way...

  3. Well said. Truly.
    Your troubles with English class may be part of the reason so many artists - writers, painters, sculptors, and the like - don't do well in schools teaching the very thing they have such genius for. While the whole moody-artist thing tends to get dramatized to rather absurd proportions from time to time, it's still true at its core. At the end of the day, you simply can't turn art into science.

  4. Trav: Steampunk falls under sci-fi.
    Losterial: Thanks for the prayers.
    Mary: Agreed.

  5. The plot summary, I can understand, as painful as it is.

    For the genres, ask the professor why. The best educational moments occur when a student questions a teacher. Though, being stuck with modern, realistic fiction could be a practice for emotions and inner conflict.

    That's why I'll probably never take a secondary education class in writing fiction. Just because they have a degree and a teaching position does not make them eligible to teach it, since a great many of it can be learned on our own.