The writing course is stimulating so much thought that I'm lying awake at night. It is an amazing journey but not a pleasant one. The idea is that after this week we all leave better prepared to describe a three dimensional character, but whether we can pull it off or not remains to be seen. Some of the writers in our class were pretty good in the first place.
The uncomfortable tendancy for our tutor to tell the assembled group that dreams of being a big selling author, fame and fortune simply won't happen, is humbling. 'These big name authors who churn out a book a year are not even writing them themselves. It is a marketing machine. Their publishers have invested in a focus group of ghost writers who construct stories in the author's style too keep up with demand. What is more, the author attained success because they are marketable. To succeed you must be white' (this is the second time he has said this, all eyes look down at the desk once again and as the only white person in the class, I feel like a villain). He continues ... 'To sell books you must be attractive, so you look good on the dust cover of the book and in the newspapers and magasines that are pushing your novel, that is what is important. Therefore it is just not going to happen for an African writer.'
I applaud the success of 'blog to book' stories like 'Wife in the North' and 'Petite Anglaise' who seem to have had only to giggle their blogs around a little to make a book. Rather green faced at this point I wonder if they re wrote their material seven times until reaching the final product as we are being told one must do to seek our best, most evocative writing? I guess that anything that stretches you is always worth doing. A fellow student said: 'you can be drowning in heaps of praise but only criticism will save you' or something like that?! - Not that I am bitter or anything of course!