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Tips on Teaching English Creative Writing

  • Date Submitted: 04/10/2011 12:08 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 70.1 
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Tips on Teaching Creative Writing
It's finally happened. You've reached the pinnacle (or at least a peak) of your career: you've been asked to teach a creative writing class. Sounds easy, doesn't it? After all, isn't writing in your blood, with words flowing from your fingertips every day?
The problem is that what comes so naturally on paper is hard to explain, difficult to define and even more impossible to teach to others. You can make the process easier, however, by following these nine simple steps:
1. Plan ahead. Scour past issues of writer's magazines, pulling ideas for each class from those pages of infinite wisdom. Line up your schedule in chronological order: covering the basics, developing a plot, creating characters, etc. Find materials that match each week's theme and help reiterate your points. Make copies and lay out the entire course plan before the first class. Having a clearly defined curriculum relieves the pressure of coming up with something new each week.
2. Plan twice as much material as you think you're going to need. You may be counting on class participation and end up with a room full of Marcel Marceau wannabees. Or the brainstorming session you allotted 30 minutes for only takes 30 seconds. Rather than filling dead time with complaints about your cat, make sure you have additional handouts and exercises. Find a book of quick writing exercises and use those as a springboard for a few of your own. These are great ways to revive a class and to help your students apply what you are teaching them.
3. Plan activities that will involve the whole class. Part of the problem with a creative writing class is the diverse group of people who sign up. Poets may not be too interested in writing short stories and vice versa. Develop lectures that can encompass all the writers in the room. After all, writing is writing. The lessons I have learned in my fiction writing -- show and don't tell, bring characters to life, integrate scenery as a character...


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