Back when I was a university undergraduate, I took CLEP tests to get out of having to sit through required classes in subjects that I hated. I scored high enough that I took only one U.S. History class in residence, and only one U.S. Government class in residence; the only English class that I took was Term-Paper Writing.
At the time, I thought I was being clever. I’m big on contingency planning, but I never figured I might, maybe, someday be a novelist and need all that English stuff.
Anyway, I haven’t taken any kind of Creative Writing class since high school, and I haven’t had any Literature classes since high school. I know more about Escherichia coli than I do about James Joyce.
Getting the kind of education I’ve had, for a now-novelist, has been good and bad.
I recently got a chance to alpha-read a manuscript by a friend who has an English degree. Well, lot of things that her professors taught her, about how to write “literature,” made her manuscript unreadable. To write readable fiction, she has to unlearn a lot of stuff—thank heavens I don’t.
Another thing I’m pleased about: With my technical education, I can write books that the English majors and Literature experts would never think of, or would panic if they had to do research for.
To learn how to write fiction, I’ve had to spend several hundred dollars on how-to books from Writer’s Digest. Even so, there are times when I’ll be stuck on a writing problem and I’ll think, “I’ll bet the English majors know how to solve this.” I suspect I’ve re-invented the wheel a lot.
Where am I going with this?
I’m currently writing the last chapter of The Bimborg (“last” not counting the Epilogue chapter). This chapter is what you’d expect, given the premise: Good v. Evil, with the fate of Earth itself in the balance.
The writing is giving me fits. I’ve thrown out two complete plottings since I began the chapter, and am now on my third plot for the final chapter.
I feel stupid. After all, the chapter has to start at a certain place (it seems that Charlie-Bob and his cause is doomed), and it has to end at a certain place (Good triumphs, and the villain is vanquished). So how hard should it be to write the stuff in between?
My high-school Creative Writing teacher never told me there would be days like this!
Well, maybe I can cheat?
For Charlie-Bob and the bimborg, it seemed that all was lost. “Victory is mine!” [the villain] cackled.
Then some amazing things happened.
Afterward, Charlie-Bob lived happily ever after. For one thing, he got laid a lot.
EDIT: Added 2013.05.03—
Buy The Bimborg now! You know you want to.
EDIT: Added 2013.12.22—
Apple iTunes Bookstore
EDIT: Added 2014.06.27—
Page Foundry/Inktera EPUB