Creative Writing in College
In my third year of college, I took a creative writing class. It had little structure and mainly comprised the professor encouraging us to develop short stories. Until this point in my life, I had written some fiction, including a few jokes. Here is one:
The creative writing class was eye-opening because I attempted larger story arcs, which pushed my creative limits. To help, the professor offered topic guidelines and tips for crafting stories.
Because I had not led an exciting life, I turned friends and family members into characters and put them into far-fetched situations. Recently, I dug up these stories from an old hard drive directory, and at first, the content shocked me.
My grammar was atrocious, and my spelling was even worse. I wondered if translating from the old DOS program Office Writer to Microsoft Office 3.0 to Microsoft Office 2016 to Office 2021 had somehow dramatically affected my words. Yeah, that was indeed wishful thinking. Fortuity, my English has improved since then.
After I got over my shock, I could take an unbiased look at the content. What I had come up with was exciting, and I had a real knack for dialog. Even my flow, plot structure, and word choice were good. I had talent back then? Who knew?
I want to concentrate on the story “A Trip.” At the tim I wrote this story, I had been biking in the canyon near our house for many years. I had a lot of fun, and it was excellent exercise. On one of those trips, I thought I was being chased and hid in a drainage pipe for ten minutes. During that time, some men drove nearby and illegally dumped their garbage. This experience was frightening because I could not see what was happening and thought they were looking for me.
From that beginning, I thought up an imaginative tale of a bike-riding boy. After reading that story, I remembered that joyful kid (myself) who had a vivid imagination and a bright future. I also remember how this kid completely understood how the world worked. He was going to bend it into submission with his great ideas. I suppose all kids are convinced that “their generation will make it right.” (A line from the song Land of Confusion by Genesis)
I could see my present personality peeking out in that story and also saw a big negative streak. Randy has that negative streak. He assumes people will act a certain way and looks down upon them even when they are nice. If something terrible happens, the world is punishing him. Everything is stupid, and everyone is a jerk. Except for Randy, he’s perfect.
At the time I wrote this story, I thought negativity-type behaviors were cool, and Randy was an outlet for my alter ego. I remember those days well, and I am glad I put in the effort to change. Undoubtedly, if I had not put in this effort, I would have grown up a miserable person. What kind of woman would marry a man like that? Reading this story made me proud of what I accomplished. It also proves that a person can change their life if they want to.
Randy uses his imagination to save the world, and this is the magic cure for everything. There is always a solution. Just analyze the situation and apply logic. Some things never change. It occurs to me that Randy’s intelligence is either a blessing or a curse. I have known many people who were too smart for themselves, and they are often called “smart slackers.” Sometimes, I still recognize this trait and feel ashamed of my actions.
While the story needed significant grammar and spelling fixes, it was a perfect short story arc that could have occurred. Well, I think it could have occurred. Taking a high-level view, I was proud of my early writing accomplishments. The words were emotional and came from my most meaningful life experiences. That is what creative writing is all about.
Will there be any future creative writing for me? I have been thinking of a book of my best short stories. One is about Amelia Earhart and time travel. For now, fiction books are my only creative outlet. Yet, reading this story has given me something to think about.
Read my creative writing story here:
You’re the best -Bill
July 25, 2018 Updated July 01, 2023
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