My #BuqoYA Online Writing Class Experience

buqoya tropes

Image credit: Faye Sebastian

This year I want to make it a goal to focus on my writing. It all started when I won NaNoWriMo last year. It made me realize how fun it is to write stories! And I’ve always been dreaming of becoming a published author. Last November I realized that it was time to stop dreaming and start doing. And so, for a month I sacrificed a huge chunk of my sleeping time to write a novel. And it totally paid off.

So, fast forward to 2015, it’s my goal to further focus on my writing this year. And part of that was to join an online writing class sponsored by Buqo (an online ebook vendor in the Philippines) and facilitated by Ms. Mina V. Esguerra. Miss Mina has facilitated online classes before and she encouraged a lot of Filipinos to write romance books and to self-publish. I’ve heard so much great things about her free online writing classes so I decided to join buqoYA Online Writing Class to see for myself what it’s like to be taken under Miss Mina’s wings, metaphorically speaking.

The participants were required to write a story with minimum of 5000 words, it could be written in Filipino or English and each of us were assigned to a specific trope. We should be able to finish the story on the last day of February. Sounds easy, right? Haha nope.

The fact that there was a deadline made things easier for me because I love deadlines. They keep me on track with my goals. Because I wanted to challenge myself, I set my word count goal to 18000 words.

I did reach my word count, but barely.

But what I found the most challenging yet the most fun part of the class was the trope assignment. Miss Mina would get to choose which trope the writers were going to be assigned in. There was the Hate-You-Love-You trope, the Best Day Ever trope, the Friends To More Than Friends trope and then there was the Out of My League trope. I got assigned to the OOML trope.

At first I didn’t know what to do! I was a deer in headlights.

When I’m starting a new story, I have to plan everything first before writing the first word. Of course there are detours and twists along the way so I’m okay with not being able to follow everything in the outline. But for the most I want to know first where the general direction of my story is before I embark on the journey.

But then boom! I have to write an OOML YA contemporary romance story.

The thing is, we always see OOML in the romance genre—not just in the YA category. It’s a very overused trope. I wanted my story to be different. The story where the guy is this very hot varsity player and the girl is a nerd isn’t going to cut it. I wanted it to break the mold.

So what I did was I made the guy, Landon, geeky when it comes to Shakespeare’s works, he is a great actor who always exudes confidence but deep inside he has insecurities too. Then the girl, Calie, is an aspiring actress with a lot of potential but was too shy to show it until she met Landon.

I really thought it was going to be a disaster because I was never the pantser. But being one made me discover a lot of things about me and my characters. I was so invested in these characters I even cried while writing the ending! It was also very freeing to stop fretting about the outline and just… write. I’m pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished in the class and hopefully I can publish it as soon as possible because I can’t wait for everyone to read it!

The support from the other participants was also overwhelming. It’s always so encouraging to be pep talked by your fellow writing buddies!

It was one heck of a month of pounding the keyboard and meeting your daily word count goal but I enjoyed it. I wouldn’t hesitate to do this again sometime.

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