Friday, April 04, 2008

Speed-Writing, Anyone?

Interesting day I had today.  As I mentioned in a previous post I have a "Christianity and Imagination" class this semester.  It's been a great class, and I'll be sorry to see it end.  My professor, Dr. David Calhoun, is a wonderful Christian man who loves to really grapple with good literature.  He introduced me to Frederick Buechner, for which I am thankful, and we will be discussing his work as well as Flannery O'Connor's.  She's been a favorite for a long time, so I'm looking forward to that day.

There is only one grade in the class.  Each student has to put together some form of imaginative art.  It could be a poem, a painting, even a dance.  I planned to write a short story because at any given time I have a number of short stories kicking around in my head.  As I feared, the story has begun to creep beyond the bounds of 'short storydom.'  It's on its way to becoming a novel, I think.  Don't get me wrong:  I will be happy to have a novel if I can complete it.  I'll shop it around.  Finishing it for class will be the problem.

On monday we had 'drawn lots' to see when we would do our presentations.  I drew May 2, which seemed good to me.  That gave me more than a month, and I thought if I aimed at writing 1000 words a day I could have a decent amount of work done.  1000 words a day is a tall order, but it was something to aim for.

But that was before Friday.

It seems that when Dr. Calhoun set up his lot-casting system he was using an outdated list of names.  There are three more people in the class than he thought.  That means that he needed to add an extra day to the presentation schedule.  But that's not a problem.  He thought the most fair thing would be for us to draw lots again.  Suddenly the room felt a little hotter.

The basket went around the room for the second time.  After a few minutes it came to me and I drew my paper.  I opened it, checked the date, and laid it on the table.  My new date is the 18th.

APRIL 18th.

I lost two entire weeks.  If 1000 words a day was unlikely, 2000 is in the realm of the absurd.  I don't suppose I have to have the whole novel finished, but I would like to have most of the first draft done when I do my reading.

So if you'll excuse me, I've got some work to do.

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