LITR 3731 Creative
First class meeting:
introduction, student presentations etc. + preferences
introduction, student presentations etc. + preferences
students swap emails, phones
confer with instructor
By early next week, I'll email presentation schedule
review and let me know if any problems (most students appear to ignore emails from me, but you could check for your name, which should appear at least twice in the assignments, maybe 3 times)
next class will be like:
Review business, presentation schedule
First poetry presentation & workshop
The coming month is our poetry section--everyone will
submit a poem , but only about half will make a poetry presentation
, but only about half will make a poetry presentation
Start a poem or dig up a poem
Consider starting draft exchanges (will review again next week)
starting a poem
54-5 6 ways to jump-start poem
dream on it
listen to yourself, not others (esp. people you’re writing to)
for first day of class:
Display examples of poems. Emphasize that they’re good but not anything to be cowed by.
we need to accomplish today:
Assign poetry Authors & Discussion Leaders for next week
Review today's assignment > discuss "creative writing"
By end of class, everyone must identify themselves and speak once on at least one of the following topics:
review course objectives
Two aspects to workshop activities
In-class: Poetry & fiction
Outside-of-class: Draft exchanges
ID cards, presentation preferences
Name (as you want it to appear on schedule, etc.)
contact information: email(s), phone(s), US mail
("No preference" is an acceptable answer)
Would you rather make your class presentation on poetry or fiction?
Any bad days for assignments?--days you know you won't be here, or distracted?
Anyone in class you'd like to be assigned with? (that is, they'd serve as your discussion-leader, or vice versa)
Anything to tell me about your situation this semester?
If you're interested in a poetry presentation, are you willing to be assigned a presentation for next Thursday, 3 September?
Volunteers for "discussion-starter" for reading assignment for 3 September?
Instructor's name: Craig White--Dr. White . . . , but I call you by your first names, so welcome to call me by mine, or Mr. White, or Professor, etc.
If you want to make an email posting, be sure to send it well before 3:30 on day of class.
Or bring it to class on a disk or file you can upload at our class terminal.
Or just bring enough paper copies for everyone in class (app. 20)
attitude: if you can work things out, so can I--no presentation is perfect, but something's got to happen
Name of course:
LITR 3731 Creative Writing
Only one undergraduate course like this at UHCL
(two graduate courses plus occasional special courses)
For many if not most of you, the first Creative Writing course you will ever take--and maybe only creative writing course . . . .
but sometimes a few students are old pro's, who've taken previous classes or attended workshops, readings, conferences, etc.
As with almost any course at UHCL, this class takes for granted that students come from different backgrounds, levels of preparation, previous experience, ages, outside commitments, hip or retro . . . .
+ different reasons for taking the course--
All to say that, while this course may be somewhat unique in a number of ways, it also tries to be a friendly course that makes you comfortable with the processes of creative writing--a safe base to start from
If you participate in and fulfill these processes, you'll probably finish the course in good standing. Talent counts for highest grades, but instructor won't shoot you down as a bad writer.
Most LITR courses: history of literature, movements and styles, great authors, heroic careers, writings change and reflect society
Standard Literature course sets up false dichotomy:
A few people who write (heroic minds, creative sorts)
Many people who read (consumers, masses at Barnes and Noble, Borders, etc. > professional critics and scholars)
Some truth to these terms, but lots of room in between
More people are writers than you might ever suspect
Numerous articles suggest that more people are writing than ever (hard to quantify) (more people, but also higher percentage going to college, etc., entering middle class)
Point: overall, writers and readers aren't two different classes of people
Three Genres textbook: writers are readers; readers
And especially not in this class . . .
Don't assume that there will be an "elite" group who are already great writers, while the rest of us fail
The average group of students for this course is all over the place, with many different backgrounds, different goals and ambitions, interests
Main goal of course: learning about how to be a creative writer, how to act like one, how to practice, behave, think, write--or teach
If you're in this course, you already have the basic
skills for writing creatively
Standard Literature course: start with something already
written; react to a text, write something about it
Creative Writing: start with something that is not
yet written: blank page. How do you begin to fill up the page with something worth
reading? How develop?
Always some mystery involved, so not meaning to set this
course up as how to write a bestseller by December.
Learn how to become more creative, plus integrate into your normal life
Have chances for all of you to speak a little on this subject today, but to do so systematically, need to start reviewing course via syllabus
Review overall course & assignments
Course mixes two teaching approaches:
1. traditional instruction, e. g., lecture / discussion--transmission of knowledge and exercises in thinking led by "old teacher" and followed by "young learners"
2. workshop activities--student-led, focused on student creativity, give-and-take between peers
1. traditional instruction will take care of itself--we're doing it now, and we all know how it works--I'll lead part of every class, reinforce schedule, review assignments, emphasize aspects of Three Genres
In a Creative Writing course, instructor becomes more like "a coach" than a typical teacher--i. e., instructor organizes and pushes activities by students rather than always leading them himself
reading discussions: "reading highlights"
syllabus, p. 10
2. workshop is less familiar
and somewhat less dependable, but when it works well, students often learn more
from it than from traditional instruction
The Author must bring copies of poem for class to read or arrange with instructor to post poem to webpage.
The Author must provide Discussion Leader with copy of poem at least two hours before class, and preferably over weekend.
The Discussion Leader must prepare questions to ask the class and the Author about the poem. (Discussion-Leader may send copies of these questions to instructor for posting to webpage either before or after class.)