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intro to fiction

Intro to the Writing of Fiction

Below you'll find a syllabus for a 200-level Intro to the Writing of Fiction course complete with readings and assignments.  Feature image courtesy of Andrew Seaman    
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Time in Narratives

A simple handout that illustrates key concepts of time in narratives by comparing them to the basic controls we use when watching videos. Feature image...
place essay creative nonfiction

Place Essays — Examples Using Research

Incorporating research into creative nonfiction essays helps bring the narrative to life but can be difficult to do. Below you'll find a collection of...

Place Essays – Finding Places to Write About

Writing about place is more than writing about a vacation or a childhood home. There are certain tensions evident in all spaces when we...
concision handout

Concision for Creative Writers

If you're looking for a way to encourage your creative writing students to be more concise, try this simple concision handout.       Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash    
how to avoid thing words

Avoiding ‘Thing’ Words

I'll admit right off the bat that my major pet peeve is 'thing' words. Something. Nothing. Anything. Everything. And just plain old thing. In...
writing anxiety

Exploring the Output of Writers

A great piece of advice for any writer is to read as much as possible. If one wants to write novels, reading great novels...
office hours

Student Centered Office Hours

Those of us who teach Creative Writing usually have the luxury that our students actively choose to be in the class. When they come...
creative writing activities for college students

Characters, Conflict, and Goals

It can be difficult to reveal connections between key elements of craft in fiction writing classes, but this activity is designed to do just that.
imagery

Concrete Imagery in Poetry Scattegories

To begin: I have students call out a list of abstractions. Usually we end up with some variation on the following: fear sadness joy depression ...
touchstone moments

I Was Wearing Them the Day–Touchstone Moments and Details for the Fiction Writer

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...
advice column assignment

The Advice Column Two Ways–Part One: Creative Nonfiction

Writing advice columns with the skills of the essayist allows CNF writers to focus on the shared, often abstract, subjects of disparate experiences.
workshop creative writing feedback

Ethics Self-Quiz

Discussing ethics in Creative Nonfiction can feel like a static list of do's and don'ts but I start my unit by giving them this Ethics Self-Quiz

Activity: Refurbishing

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...
activity creative writing workshop

Class Starters for the Fiction Workshop

For fiction writers, provocation is part of the job description. The same should go for our teaching of fiction, especially with students who are...

Literary Magazine Submissions

A handout covering the basics of submitting to literary magazines: where to submit, cover letters, terminology, and mistakes to avoid.
Feedback Creative Writing

Creative Writing Feedback: On Finding Praise

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.
workshop creative writing feedback

QCS Workshop Responses

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...

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Write Club

Two opposing writers. Two opposing ideas. This assignment captures the essence of Ian Belknap's Write Club as it has students face off in argument based presentations.
literacy teaching higher education

Learning to Read Online

In introductory writing classes with a research based project, most of us spend time teaching students how to read academic journal articles. We understand how to...
Group project assignment

Raising the Stakes: Group Projects as Competitive Contests

Group projects regularly cause trepidation but structuring them as competitive contests leads students away from generic and predictable outcomes.