Intro to Creative Writing
Ray Bradbury said of the reading and writing process: “We are cups … constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” In this class, we will fill ourselves with a variety of great poetry and fiction, and will spend time closely reading, analyzing and discussing these works. Not only do I hope students will find inspiration through reading the works of published authors, this close reading and discussion also helps build a vocabulary and an understanding of basic craft elements in poetry and fiction. Using our readings as a foundation and jumping-off point, students are then asked to “tip themselves over and let the beautiful stuff out” by writing their own poetry and short stories, which they submit to me and their peers for constructive feedback in workshop. It is important to me that the classroom be a safe environment where everyone feels comfortable taking risks and breaking free from their inhibitions. When discussing a fellow student’s work, for example, students are expected to mention aspects they like about the work in addition to suggestions for improvement, and to consider “What is this particular writer attempting to do in this piece?” rather than “If I were writing this piece, I would do this instead.” This shows respect for each other as writers with individual styles and perspectives. Our goal as commentators is for the writer to leave workshop feeling rejuvenated, filled with ideas to improve their poem or story.
- Here is a downloadable PDF of my syllabus: Woodburn_205_syllabus
- Here is an online archive of student work from my class: Word Smorgasbord