I was feeling nauseous on my way to school tonight so I was unable to drink the mug of coffee I brought with me. Six hours later when I finally got out of class, the nausea was gone and had been replaced by a ravenous hunger. I forgot to bring my after school snack so I put the only thing in my stomach that I had available...that cold mug of coffee. Big mistake! Who drinks coffee at ten o'clock at night and is then able to get a good night's sleep? Not me! Well, since I couldn't sleep I decided to be productive.
Tonight in class I workshopped my short story manuscript. For you non-writers, that means I brought in the first draft of my story and listened quietly while my fellow students dissected it piece by piece. The purpose of this is to make me aware of the places in my story that need improvement so that I can fix them and make my story better. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?
Each of my fellow students is also required to hand in a two page written commentary on my story that details its strengths and weaknesses. It was those written commentaries that I decided to read through tonight (instead of sleeping) so that I would be ready to start revising the story.
Our peer commentaries generally follow a specific pattern: what we think the heart of the story is, what the story's gifts are, and what it's weaknesses are. For the most part these commentaries read the same, "I liked this line..., You need to expand on this section..., I was confused about..."
When I got to my last commentary I couldn't help but laugh out loud. The very first sentence read, "Wow, this is a really awful story."
Awful? Really awful? Impossible. Not my story.
Now, before you get too worked up (Mom), allow me to clarify. This student didn't think my story was awful in the sense that it sucked, he was merely referring to the awful tragedy of the story's ending. At least, that's what he said. Whether he meant it...hmmm...only God knows. :)