A great piece of advice for any writer is to read as much as possible. If one wants to write novels, reading great novels can act as a blueprint. Over the course of 300 pages, one can track character arcs, revel in striking imagery, follow intricate plot lines and so on. Even though great novels […]
Posts in category Creative Nonfiction
Those of us who teach Creative Writing usually have the luxury that our students actively choose to be in the class. When they come to office hours they can be greedy for reassurance, certainly, but also for personalized guidance. The instructor has an obligation not to give unrealistic expectations for the writing life or their […]
I’ve always been interested in the question of where the fiction writer finds material. I’ve always been particularly interested in how the autobiographical gets transformed into fiction. My curiosity comes not from a prurient interest in the lives of writers, but more from a desire to provide my students a way to increase the urgency […]
I recently read a quotation by Janet Finch, who reminds writers, “You’re a writer and you have to invent it from scratch, all by yourself.” In fairness to Finch, she was responding to the overuse of clichés in writing – a worthy pursuit benefiting our students – but setting up writing as something that emerges […]
For fiction writers, provocation is part of the job description. The same should go for our teaching of fiction, especially with students who are just starting out. Unlike some other college courses, where passivity and routine help students stomach lectures, an ideal creative writing classroom is one in which students can expect to be challenged, […]
There’s a lot of talk in teaching circles about feedback—how to give an appropriate amount that doesn’t overwhelm the student (or the teacher’s workload) and balances praise and constructive criticism. Finding praise is, of course, characterized by its very verb as the part where you have to strain yourself, what you include to soften the blow your critique.
Silence in the classroom can be awkward, especially when your students are tasked with discussing their peers’ work in a creative writing workshop. I’ve found that a simple Question-Comment-Suggestion response helps guide less experienced students in the workshopping process. These responses are what they sound like: they ask students to respond to a piece of writing […]