On Teaching Creative Writing
Interesting comment that as a tutor at MIT it's interesting to be on the receiving end of what students come out of high school English with.
There is no one way to write well ; no word is more poetic than any other; no hierarchy of structures.
Sees the need for less 'static' ie no change or movement - possibly because of NZQA explanatory notes !! Have we the lost the plot as to what to reward in creative writing - a lot of quiet revelations on not much at all.
We need to be encouraging action - what happens next - where to? Movies focus on strong story telling - that's what engages young people.
The workshop model at tertiary - but not possible at the secondary school - skills based teaching necesaary for creative writing.
Story - Robert McKee
- premise and controlling idea - controlling idea should never be one word
- premise should always be a little scary - element of unknowing in the premise
- the controlling idea may not fully come out till later
- Luminaries - paradoxical ideas of love and money -
Recommended Texts for Teaching Writing
Impro - K Johnson
Rose where did you get that red? - K Cope
Poetry in the making - Ted Hughes
Some Writing Tips and Activities
3 word sentences
- only allowed to use 3 word sentences to write a story - subject , object , predicate - if you want to use an adjective what would you leave out
How, why or what next - if a reader is not asking any of these - your story is boring
- they should rotate through these 3 questions
- start with any sentence starter and ask the questions - manipulate how you answer these questions
- know the attraction - see what the reader wants but don't necessarily in the order that they want
- screen writing ideas lend the best advice
4 ways to have action DDDA - decision deed discovery accident ( deeds and accidents external - decision and discovery internal )
- card activity - DDDA cards - mix and match - these can become 4 lines stories - always a random selection
- as a grid we live in the crossroads of these 4 - in control and out of control - story needs to sit in the middle of this grid
Excuse VS Explanation
- choose a misdemeanour
- collate the excuses - how ridiculous they are
- explanations create good prose
- how to frame the statement for an argument
- give out an argument - every student to write 2 questions that have a yes answer - this can build the argument
- stories about 1sts - things that we don't expect as a reader
Fortunately / Unfortunately - in order around the room - ambition has to be solved if not achieved - rule - accept all offers!!
- encouraging students to write about counter culture - levels of logic
- rules of the real world - consistency - eg if people can fly - how high? everyone? distance? etc
- whatever your rules are, you have to believe them - they have to be real to the reader
- fiction doesn't have a sound track - a writer had to direct ; stage set ; sound track - everything - the writer has to create that sense - love is not created by just using the word 'love'
- beginning with film - is a way in for students
- fiction and essay writing - driven in the same way - sees poetry as being at a 'imbibed' at a different speed
J Cameron - the cycle of the heroes journey - ways growing and developing
- every story has a movement into the unknown