Philip Brewer's Writing Progress


Monday, 02 July 2001


So, the question you have to be asking yourself is: was Phil really that drunk, or was he getting paid for the product placement?

Today was the first day of class with Geoff and Mary.

Geoff talked about cliches. We did an exercise where we did various things to make a cliche fresher through various means: lengthening it, overdoing it drastically, twisting it to mean the opposite of what it previously meant, making a pun out of it, etc.

Geoff called the enormously overdone, hammered to death cliche a conceit. Those are kind of fun (although probably not really useful very often). Here's one I did in class, on the cliche tough as nails:

Tough as mil-spec nails; designed, fabricated, tested, verified, qualified for use in life-critical applications, and certified by four different independent labs.

Mary talked about science fiction poetry. She listed numerous reasons why we should all write at least some sf poetry. I didn't get them all into my notes, but a few were: It's fun, it's a good social outlet, it's therapy, it's a way to melt a sweetheart's heart, it's cheap (and said sweetheart probably won't realize how cheap you'd been until days later), it's thoughtful, it's quick (you can write a poem when there isn't time to write a short story), it's good skill development for several skills including precision of language, conciseness, and originality. She also talked about it as a way to promote our careers (getting into magazines that we aren't selling stories into yet), and a way to meet other writers (and maybe even editors or agents), and as a way to enter into the mundane literary world (because poets are more accepting of speculatively poetry than literary fiction types are of speculative fiction, no matter how literary).

We got an assignment. Geoff and Mary passed around the room with hats from which to draw one science fictional idea and one poetic form. I'm supposed to write a sestina about alien invasion. I wasn't even familiar with the sestina form (although I did go look it up on the web, so I know what it is now).

If I'm pleased with it, I'll post my sestina on the web. (It's supposed to be done by Friday.)

I spent all afternoon and all evening working on counting votes for the t-shirt quotes, preparing photo-ready copy for the back, putting the Clarion logo and our slogan together with the t-shirt front art, etc. I didn't get my critiquing done, and I certainly didn't get any writing down.

So, I'm going to upload this journal entry, then read stories for critique until I fall asleep. I'll finish reading and type up my critiques in the morning.

I will post the runners-up from the t-shirt quotes, but not tonight.


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