Today was the start of a new term for my writing class and I was thrilled to have 11 students there (the most I’ve ever had), including 3 ‘newbies’ who I’m hoping will become regulars.
It’s my own class: I book and pay for the room, decide on the syllabus and am responsible for getting ‘bums on seats’ and I spend a lot of time and effort trying to promote it (I’ve even got posters up in the back windows of my car this time!), so it’s really satisfying to see some results from that and to feel that the class is, at least for the time being, ‘full’.
Everyone was full of beans this morning. In fact, at times, I could hardly get a word in edgeways but that’s great – and how it should be!
One of the topics we discussed was the importance of that ‘good first line’ but I also told them about the Bulwer-Lytton contest which ‘challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels’ and takes its inspiration – and name – from the author of this opening line to a novel published in 1830: “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.”
And who knows, you might feel inspired to enter the competition (entries for next year’s competition close on April 15th, 2015).
Here are the entry form and the rules.
One of the main things to remember is that, no matter how funny you think your opener is, it still has to sound like the first line of novel!
So, after all that fun in the class today, I got home and logged onto my emails and there was a dreaded rejection from People’s Friend. (ie: The Bad News).
Of course, I’m always getting rejections but this was a story for which I had high hopes and I’d spent hours and hours on it. It was also a longer story than I normally write, at 4000 words (just as fiction editor Shirley Blair had requested during her talk at Swanwick).
Apparently it was all a bit predictable and didn’t have enough twists and surprises to keep the reader interested. So, it’s back to the drawing board for me. (Someone needs to lock me in The Cave for a few days and only let me out when I have produced something better!)
How’s your week going? What significant ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ have you had? Come on, you know you want to share…