This week, we finished our Huckleberry Finn unit, and we had to do a project that connects some aspect of the story to modern day. I took this project idea literally, and chose to rewrite one of Huck’s adventures – the Grangerford-Shepherdson scene – and set it in 2017. I had a blast. The entire project is on my portfolio.
Since Mark Twain famously wrote Huck Finn in the southern dialect he was used to, I took care to work in modern slang and little catchphrases I hear and use in school on a daily basis. I turned Huck into a 21st century teenager, with his friend Jim, the protective foster child, at his side as they drive through the South on a spontaneous summer road trip.
I love writing fanfiction about classic stories, from Romeo and Juliet to The Outsiders, so I enjoyed this project immensely. But while I was having fun, I was also supposed to be working on my 20 Time project. I was not doing that and I never did get the guild scene I promised in earlier posts up on my portfolio. Or even fully written, for that matter.
But here’s my justification.
The goal of my 20 Time project was to improve my fiction writing. All I’ve been doing all week is work on my Huck Finn 2017 story, and I have the final product. I realized that I basically just wrote a very long story scene, just like the ones I planned on writing. It just happened to be assigned separately from 20 time.
The scenes were meant to be writing exercises, getting me used to writing on a broad range of social issues. My fanfiction touches on some racism at points, and has a ton of social commentary about politics. It’s also set in modern day. I don’t write a lot of realistic fiction, I mostly stick to fantasy, so forcing myself to explore the world of 2017 America was, in itself, a writing exercise.
What did I accomplish this week? I wrote my first scene and posted it to my portfolio. Yay me.
Moving forward, I might drop the guild scene altogether, just because it doesn’t involve a social issue and it’s a little boring. I plan to finally actually work on a social issue scene or two. If I don’t have it up by the next time I post, I will be very behind on my personal schedule and I don’t want to do that.
I also need to think seriously about my mentor. I have one author in mind that I want to consider reaching out to, but I haven’t looked into it much. Basically, a mentor for my project would be someone to talk about the writing process with – editing, publishing, the like. I didn’t plan on digging further for a while, anyway.
I’m happy with how my project is going so far. It’s time to work on those scenes…