My novel-writing days began. I signed on to the college website and was pleasantly surprised a “mature person” (aka known as an old fart) like me could negotiate the somewhat mysterious pathways of the on-line information stream with only minor digressions through the new-user student rat maze. I read the instructions and saw what textbooks were needed. Bringing along a lap top to class was recommended. No problem.
The first evening, I pushed open the door to an empty classroom. Hoping I was in the right location, I chose the desk closest to the speaker’s podium and unpacked. I was relieved when the instructor, Connie Flynn, showed up soon after. My future classmates strolled in, some solo, some shoulder-to-shoulder with friends. Being a loner had never bothered me. I attended grade school where my father was the elementary school principal. So that meant being frozen out of a number of cliques. I learned to choose my friends carefully and also how to defend myself with fists. But I digress. So here I was, sitting at the front of the room, raring to go. Our first activity was to “go around the room” and give a summary of the intended subject for our novels. I, of course, volunteered that I was planning to write the story of my mother-in-law’s journey across America during the Great Depression. Teacher Connie’s head shook as she looked me straight in the eye and said “That will never work. As you will learn, from reading Jack Bickham’s Scene and Structure, writing from real life is way too boring. Find a new subject.” The plot thickens.