Sunday, September 26, 2010

Creatively Teaching Writing

This semester I'm teaching a Creative Writing class to 12 incredibly eager homeschoolers.  The waiting list for this class was long (only 12 per class) and I had some seriously upset kids who couldn't get in, so I'm thinking it will be one I offer next semester too.  It's been a pleasure so far because they're tremendously excited about their writing.  The goal of the class is for each student to complete a novel during the semester.  Lengths will vary by student, but the minimum goal is 15,000 words.  We've spent a few weeks brainstorming ideas and creating outlines, but this week we officially start.  I've been putting together handouts on motivational techniques to keep them on track and have adapted ideas from many sources.  I'm actually not too worried about their managing this though.  Unlike the academic writing classes I also teach, these guys have been straining at the bit to get started.  My older daughter (who is also taking the class) not only completed a 3 page write-up outlining the 6 elements of plot we focussed on last week, but unable to help herself, she started in and has already completed a substantial first chapter.  Happily, I don't think she's the only one.  I've had a number of parents commenting this week that their kids are (in some cases for the 1st time) incredibly excited about writing.

In my academic writing classes, where I focus primarily on argumentative writing, it's often a struggle to get them going.  They have lots to say, but have a difficult time (like most of us) organizing their ideas into a coherent argument.  Students taking my literary comedy class are probably at this moment feeling rather tortured as they wrack their brains to complete their rough draft on Chaucer's comedic technique in the Miller's Tale and Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale (due tomorrow morning :)

I feel their pain.  Writing can be difficult, though I still hold that there are very few things in life as satisfying as completing a writing project.  This semester's creative writing class will hopefully be enjoying that very sensation before too long.  It's exciting to sit here on the brink of 12 new novels!


  1. Charlotte's working on a NOVEL?!?! That's incredible! Then again, I would expect such things from her. :)

  2. Oh yes! She's already finished her first chapter (3000 words) -- she's very excited about it!