If you’re reading this, you probably, at the very least, give my Facebook status changes a cursory glance now and then. On Tuesday, I mentioned that someone had given me a compliment, and that it made me feel great. The sentiment was given to me by my English professor. To paraphrase, he said that I should CLEP out of English Comp II because my writing skills were well beyond that level, and that it would be a waste of my money to take that class because there would be nothing that he could teach me that I didn’t already know.
Now, if you regularly read my blog, then you might think this man is a lunatic, but I assure you he is quite sane. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my doubts about what he is saying, especially the part about not being able to teach me anything, because I have found him to be an invaluable source of knowledge about writing. He is a published author and I have come to have a great deal of respect for him in the short time we’ve known each other. So, I am going to take his advice and try to CLEP-out this fall.
An unexpected side effect of my teacher’s praises was an almost instantaneous boost to my confidence. The one thing about just starting out writing is that you never really know for sure if you are any good or not. You pass your material among friends and family to critique, but even if they all say they love it , there is still a lingering doubt because you wonder if they are saying that just to be nice. So, then you start a blog to give yourself a larger sample set to receive feedback from. It helps, but unless an editor or someone with professional writing experience comes along to check-out your site, your sample set contains no critical opinions. I say all of that to say, it’s just damn hard to build confidence in your writing when you’re starting out.
My professor did exactly that on Tuesday. Whether he meant to, or not, he gave me a completely unbiased opinion on my work and I came away with a positive response. I don’t say this to demean any of the reviews that my friends and family have given me before, but it was a comment from someone like this that I really needed to hear, and it really has my motivation to write at a high that I haven’t had in at least a year.
It is because of this that I have dusted off the manuscript for the book I have been writing for almost two years now. (I feel like Brian Griffin and his long to be finished novel, Faster Than the Speed of Love.) I spent yesterday reading through the 127 pages that I have completed, and it was like reading someone else’s book. I was rediscovering the characters that I penned, and they started to come to life for me all over again. Then, I hit a problem…
Now, you’re probably thinking that the title of this article is some kind of April Fool’s Day prank, but it’s not. This is the part where Tiger personally screwed me (No, not like that, you pervert!). My main character, Kylee, is going out on a first date with a boy she is totally enamored of. The boy asks her to go golfing with him, even offering to teach her how to play. Never once does he think that she may already know how to play, or that she might be the defending California Junior Girls State Champ. So, she doesn’t mention it, either and on the subsequent date she takes his ass to the cleaners. After this humbling episode, they return to the clubhouse for lunch. Then, I read the sentences that just ticked me off to no end. The following is from the book:
Andrew returned with our sandwiches and our conversation turned to the beating I had just given him on the course. His wounded ego had started to recover and he was now having fun with my golf prowess, even giving me a nickname.
“So, Tiger, why are we not making a big deal out of this date?” Ethan asked, returning us to the former line of questioning.
DAMN IT ALL TO HELL!!! Tiger, I didn’t think you owed me any kind of apology when you did your little speech last month. I was of the belief that the only person you should apologize to was Elin, and maybe your mom, but I have changed my mind. I’ll accept your apology to me now. For the rest of the book after this, the boy refers to Kylee as Tiger. It becomes his pet name for her and it fit the story perfectly. A name that once meant golf superiority is now fodder for the latest joke in the office. Ugh! So, back to the drawing board on that one. If anyone has any suggestions, I gladly take them. Have a great April Fool’s Day and keep the corny pranks to a minimum.
Editorial Note: Jennifer, I promise I’ll get that Lindsay Lohan piece done soon. If I thought anyone actually read this, I might have gotten around to it sooner. I think, as of right now, you’re my biggest fan! Of course, being number one of one is probably not something to cheer about, but I digress.