The Start of the UGP: Off into the Unknown

I have embarked on a new adventure. I am taking a risk, a literary, educational, and (hopefully) enlightening risk. I started in doubt, in fear. While I like trying new things, I don’t like taking risks. However, I was surprised. Very surprised. And now I am in love with my adventure. In fact, I’ve been enjoying it so much that I have forgotten to blog about it until now!

In my Writing in Discipline course, my professor introduced a project for us. She called it the “Unfamiliar Genre Project,” or “UGP” for short. Having been in a number of English studies classrooms over the years of my educational career, I am more than familiar with the definition of a genre, how to write in a specific genre, and examples of genre than most sane people would be confident in owning up to. Science fiction, fiction, drama, satire, news writing, poetry, slam poetry, romantic, hymn, ballad, epistolary… I could run around and around in circles like this for days. Yet when my professor told us to find a genre with which we had never had the pleasure of working, and to study it, immerse ourselves in it, be permeated with it, and, after some time, possibly master it… well, I definitely felt like this:

jack-sparrow-screams-pirates-of-the-caribbean-5-might-just-have-the-best-villains-ever-jpeg-153241.jpg

Granted, I did not do this in class, but the general feeling was there. First of all, where do you find a genre you have never heard of before? Once you have it, how on earth am I supposed to master it?

Can someone say, #panicked?

However, while I am still in the midst of the jungle, battering my way through this unfamiliar territory, I can honestly say I am having so much fun. There have been times where I have wanted to rip my hair out and through my computer across the room. I have been frustrated and annoyed and I have threatened my screen on more than one occasion. Yet I have learned so much in such a short period. I am learning what it means to struggle and to doubt oneself. I am learning how to push myself past my limits. And I am learning how to write in a new way.

I chose a genre on the opposite end of the spectrum from what I usually write. I tend to talk on and on and never leave out a single detail when telling stories (much to the displeasure of my dinner company). I love the meat of the story, so I chose something that would force me to minimize the word content but still retain the power of the narrative.

Our unfamiliar genre is….. MICRO FICTION!

I will go into detail later, but just know, dear readers, that it is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Wish me luck!

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One Comment

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  1. Beth, i’m really excited to see what you come up with for your microfiction. I also really enjoy the images you chose for this post btw, very funny and also accurate. I think that it’s really cool that you’re challenging yourself so much. Microfiction is really hard. I also tend to write long and lengthy. I like describing and detailing characters, places, and events, so i can imagine how hard it’s going to be to get it between 50-100 words. However i agree that you will be a better writer for it. I appreciate how aware of your own abilities and tendencies as a writer and i think that this project will certainly help you to grow as a writer. Again, i’m excited to see what you cook up.

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