This particular course is an introduction to creative writing and it will encompass numerous genres, including drama, fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. Truthfully, this feels like play for me--it's so much fun to sift through endless literary shorts, to decide which works I want to include in my course reading. I have a large compilation of works that I'll have to pare down a bit before fall, but I'm confident that the end result will be an eclectic collection that will appeal to a wide array of tastes and sensibilities. But this is the easy part.
I have been putting off constructing the craft lessons and writing assignments because I figured this would be the cumbersome work. Perhaps this is due to a slight bent toward the idea that to teach writing is a limited venture, after all, so much depends on voice and the writer's motivation, ability to create. Creativity, I hate to say, can be exercised but not taught.
That said, I began today--I began putting together assignments that go back to basics: character development, types of conflict, ways to raise tension, how to avoid cliches, etc... And guess what? I realized I hadn't really broken writing down to the basics in quite some time. Not that I forgot the basics, but I just didn't think about them much. I figured they were all just coming out, naturally.
As I sketch potential exercises for my students, I've found myself taking time to pause and reflect on my own works-in-progress with a newfound (re-found) focus. So, for me, the education is not necessarily a formula to create a bestselling author or literary phenom, but it does contribute to the perspective I need to have to round out my own work.
Kurt Vonnegut's story graph for Cinderella