Last weekend I attended a writing class in Tampere. The class was on Saturday, but because the train schedules wouldn't cooperate, I decided to go up on Friday. I took the laptop, of course, and planned to get some writing done, but first I went for a walk and ended up at the Särkänniemi amusement park.
The sky's looking kind of ominous in this shot. About five minutes later it started hailing.
They have a beautiful old carousel.
It would be cool to ride this in full steampunk regalia.
My favourite traffic sign ever!
I had a very balanced and nutritious dinner that night. (Not.)
I stayed at the Lapland hotel Tampere, mainly because the location was convenient for the course. It turned out to be a very nice hotel. The golden antlers above the bed were kind of cool.
The writing course was fun, too. Met lots of interesting people and got valuable feedback on my story. We talked about exposition and did a writing exercise, where first we wrote description of our setting and then a scene that integrated description into action. It's surprisingly difficult to write something half-decent in a short time!
The best part of these kinds of things is realising that you're not alone: other writers are struggling with the same issues. When we did introductions, a lot of the people there said they had started writing only a couple of years ago, as adults. The myth that to be a "real" writer you have to start writing as soon as you can hold a pen is quite pervasive, and it takes the pressure off to hear that you're not a freak if you get into writing in your thirties.
Even our writer guest Liliana Lento, whose first novel, Dionnen Tytöt, had just come out, didn't start writing as a kid. It was really interesting to hear about her journey from writer to author. She started with short stories, and one day she got a book-sized idea. That's also something that feels like a relief, because I was starting to think that people are destined to be either short story writers or novel writers, not both. A lot of the writers I've asked have said that they just naturally started doing one or the other. My approach has been to try to perfect my short story writing skills first (my definition: a sale to a pro mag) and only then attempt a novel-length work. Maybe it's an okay approach after all, and one day I'll get an idea that has enough meat on it for a novel, or one of the short stories will refuse to be a short story and grow into a novel, I dunno.
A very fun course. I hope I can attend the next one, too.
Oh, and I started reading Neil Gaiman's The View from the Cheap Seats, a collection of his nonfiction. It's great and thought-provoking, and I highly recommend it. I like to support local bookstores when I can, so I tried to get a physical copy, but unfortunately the book hadn't arrived yet, so Amazon got my hard-earned pennies once again. I love my kindle (you know, 'cause it's bigger on the inside, ha ha), but it's not the same thing. I suppose I could have waited, but they said it would take TWO WEEKS to arrive. Come on! That's too long to wait when what you want is just one click away.