Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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Writing progress and wibbling about Welsh

New words written today: 532
Total words in the story: 532
Reason for stopping: Time to sort out stuff for this afternoon's class.

I have a tentative title Singing the gold home. I've also realised that one of the reasons for the stuckness recently was that I needed to evolve a radically new way of writing.

In the past I've always worked scenes over in my head, running them like a sensurround movie with smells and feelings and thoughts and sensations as well as sight and sound. I evolved this method in my youth when I used to day dream whilst walking to school. The better day dreams eventually got written down as stories.

But that only worked when what I was aiming for was a straightforward narrative describing what happened. Once I started to aim for better prose and more complex structures, it stopped working so well and recently hasn't been working at all.

The other method was to just sit down with pen and paper and write (or sit at the computer and type). Again this worked to a certain extent, but led to lots of beginnings where the initial enthusiasm would carry me a certain way and then leave me stranded when things got more complicated and I wasn't sure where the story was going. Trying to achieve a reasonably coherent draft in one feel swoop also stopped working.

So for this story I'm experimenting with building up from a sketchy typed outline, adding the rambling stuff from the transcribed audio files and then editing the whole thing into a polished story once I know how it ends and what sort of tone and mood I want to evoke. (See I never used to worry about that kind of thing and because I was only doing straightforward adventure fantasy in my default mode, it worked OK. But once I wanted to try anything cleverer, I was doomed!)

So far it's felt OK. Lots of chanting of the mantra, "It's just for fun, no one's ever going to see this," helped too. :)

In other news: Tuesday (the day I don't work) seemed more unproductive than I had hoped. I had (as usual) written a whole list of Things To Do selected off the Next Action List. In the end I faffed around and didn't do anything much useful apart from sort out my Welsh study materials.

This mostly involved setting up new files for Book 1 and Book 2 materials (which is old work) so the current work now fits comfortable in the ring binder I use in class instead of bulging awkwardly and slipping out of the rings when I'm trying to flip through the plastic pockets. But it also involved a mental breakthrough and attitude change.

After the class on Monday, a fellow student was bemoaning the fact that though she was OK on the class work, she still couldn't actually speak Welsh to anyone. Now actually I'd always thought she was one of the stronger students, but she admitted that she was treating the class like school and was just winging it by cramming for half an hour on the morning of the lesson and doing nothing all week. The two of us ended up having a good talk with our tutor about the problems of taking the work learned in class out into the real world. (I always think of it as skiing off piste rather than down the nicely ordered and controlled nursery slopes[*]). But Myfi did point out that if we knew every single story in the course books off by heart, we would be able to speak the language.

So that's what I need to do. I need to go back over the old work and get the sentences word perfect.

I also need to go through all three books and pull out the sentences that I could genuinely use in every day situations. There are more of them than I had realised.

One other problem is that I must make the effort to speak Welsh to the tutor. This class isn't quite as competent as the one I was with last year and just about all the non-lesson-specific conversation lapses into English. I could do much more, (I've been learning Welsh for umpty-mumble years, for heavens sake!) but I know that a lot of the other students don't understand and I get that class swot feeling all over again.

I am an adult now.

I need to be able to speak Welsh. Bugger the rest of the class! Let them think what they like.

Also I need to persecute my colleague Sioned by making a point of passing the time of day and doing as much of our casual chit-chat as possible in Welsh.

[*] Just yesterday evening, a middle-aged chap asked me in Welsh where the trailer driving tests were taking place. I hesitated (because I didn't know the answer to the question, not because I didn't understand it!), but as is always the way, he switched to English. He then did mention the classroom, so I could direct him, but giving directions is something we did last year and I should have been able to do it in Welsh and in fact was perfectly capable of doing so when I re-ran the encounter in my head this morning while eating my cornflakes -- though of course by then it was a bit late!
Tags: welsh, writing_progress

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