Friday, September 29th

Friday, September 29th

– We had our third fiction workshop today and it was very successful!

Homework for Monday, October 2nd 

  • Read: You peers’ workshop scenes!
  • Write: Make sure that you thoroughly read the stories in group one and write both margin comments (positive and negative!) and about 6 – 10 sentences of summative commentary at the end of the story. Refer to the question in your workshop handout if necessary!
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Wednesday, September 27th

Reminder/Announcement! 

Our final workshop will take place on Wednesday, October 4th. Scenes from Group Five are due on Wednesday, September 27th by 5 PM. Those in Group Five should upload their scenes to the discussion board by that time. Group Five includes:

Sydney Parker
Katie Uckotter
Tay Pursley
Michelle Price

Anyone with a scene due should click the create thread button and post their workshop piece as an attachment (.doc and .pdf preferred, so everyone can open the submissions!)

Wednesday, September 27th

– We had our second fiction workshop today and it was very successful!

Homework for Friday, September 29th

  • Read: You peers’ workshop scenes!
  • Write: Make sure that you thoroughly read the stories in group one and write both margin comments (positive and negative!) and about 6 – 10 sentences of summative commentary at the end of the story. Refer to the question in your workshop handout if necessary!

Reminder/Announcement! 

Our fourth workshop will take place on Monday, October 2nd. Scenes from Group Four are due on Monday, September 25th by 5 PM. Those in Group Four should upload their scenes to the discussion board by that time. Group Four includes:

Shannon Burwinkel
Jaida Whitley
Abby Palen
Maggie Schwettman

Anyone with a scene due should click the create thread button and post their workshop piece as an attachment (.doc and .pdf preferred, so everyone can open the submissions!)

Monday, September 25th

– We had our first fiction workshop today and it was very successful! Well done, all! Looking forward to Wednesday!

Homework for Wednesday, September 27th

  • Read: You peers’ workshop scenes!
  • Write: Make sure that you thoroughly read the stories in group one and write both margin comments (positive and negative!) and about 6 – 10 sentences of summative commentary at the end of the story. Refer to the question in your workshop handout if necessary!

Friday, September 22nd

Reminder/Announcement! 

Our next workshop will be held next week, so those of you in Group Three should post their workshop scenes to the Group Three by 5 PM tonight! Group Two includes:

Katie Bartmess
Dernae Malone
Brian Parker
Haley Windsor

Anyone with a scene due should click the create thread button and post their workshop piece as an attachment (.doc and .pdf preferred, so everyone can open the submissions!)

Friday, September 22nd

– Detail Question: What’s your least favorite kind of weather?
– We read and responded to our Poem of the Day,”Mount Pisgah” by James Kimbrell and used this poem to list some particular elements that make up a setting
– I had you complete a brief writing prompt wherein a college-age character has just gotten accepted into their first-choice school. Your task was to write a scene in which the  setting reflects the emotional landscape of the character upon receiving this news. No direct description of feelings is allowed.
– We discussed your exercises and talked about how sometimes denying yourself something in writing (direct expression for example) and help you stretch creative muscles you didn’t know you had.

Homework for Monday, September 25th

  • Read: You peers’ workshop scenes!
  • Write: Workshop starts next Monday! Make sure that you thoroughly read the stories in group one and write both margin comments (positive and negative!) and about 6 – 10 sentences of summative commentary at the end of the story. Refer to the question in your workshop handout if necessary!

Wednesday, September 20th

Reminder/Announcement! 

Our next workshop will be held next week, so those of you in Group Two should post their workshop scenes to the discussion board by 5 PM tonight! Group Two includes:

Rebecca Cole
Amina Adesiji
McKenna Belmont
Sydney Fredrick

Anyone with a scene due should click the create thread button and post their workshop piece as an attachment (.doc and .pdf preferred, so everyone can open the submissions!)

Wednesday, September 20th

– Detail Question: What’s a favorite texture of yours? (this could be a cloth, a food, anything tactile)
– We read and responded to our Poem of the Day,”cruelty. don’t talk to me about cruelty” by Lucille Clifton
– We completed a mock workshop of Micah Hicks’ story “The Man With Strange Luck”
– We answered any burning questions you might have about workshop

Homework for Wednesday, September 20th 

  • Read: Gotham: “Setting and Pacing” pg. 150 – 170
  • Read: You peers’ workshop scenes!
  • Write: Workshop starts next Monday! Make sure that you thoroughly read the stories in group one and write both margin comments (positive and negative!) and about 6 – 10 sentences of summative commentary at the end of the story. Refer to the question in your workshop handout if necessary!

Monday, September 18th

Reminder/Announcement! 

Our next workshop will be held next week, so those of you in Group One should post their workshop scenes to the discussion board by 5 PM tonight! Group One includes:

Angie Bolan
Jacob Bott
Ian Sundberg
Peter Diller

Anyone with a scene due should click the create thread button and post their workshop piece as an attachment (.doc and .pdf preferred, so everyone can open the submissions!)

Monday, September 18th

– Detail Question: What’s a tactile feeling that you can’t stand?
– We read and responded to our Poem of the Day,”Letter to the Northern Lights” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and y’all had some great insights
– We discussed how to most effectively use point of a view as a tool
– We compared and contrasted some modern uses of first person POV to modern uses of third person POV and discussed the differences therein and what strengths and weaknesses each POV has
– We made a sweet pros and cons list based on this discussion

Homework for Wednesday, September 20th 

  • Read: the short story “The Man with Strange Luck” by Micah Dean Hicks
  • Write: A typed, (double spaced) one-page letter to Micah Hicks (beginning with “Dear Micah”) that offers a thoughtful and honest critique of his story. Give the good and the bad and, as per your workshop handout, be as specific as possible. Remember to focus on craft elements. Ask yourself questions about character consistency, set design, plot structure, dialogue, and point of view. Be specific about what you liked and what you thought could work better.
  • Remember: Those of you with scenes due for our first workshop must post them by 5 PM on the day they’re due!

Friday, September 15th

Friday, September 15th 

Class is canceled today since I’m at a conference in Lexington! Here’s what I’d like you to do today instead:

Homework for Monday, September 18th 

  • Read: Gotham: “Point of View: The Full Menu” (pgs. 77 – 103) Read carefully! We’ll discuss this on Monday
  • Write: Write the same brief scene or conversation (only a page or two is fine) twice: once using first person and once in third person. What happens to the scene? How does the distance change? How is your handle on the characters different?

Wednesday, September 13th

Reminder! I’m going to be at a writers’ conference on Friday (9/15) and therefore class will be canceled on that day.

Wednesday, September 13th

– Detail Question: What’s your favorite smell, and what does it remind you of? (Remember that smell is connected to memory and is a useful tool to include in your writing!)
– We read and responded to our Poem of the Day, “The Milihelen” by Matthew Olzmann
– We discussed Atwood’s short story “Happy Endings” and talked how plot requires scale: you need to scale the level of conflict in the scene, story, or novel to how much space you’re working with.
– We also talked about the concept of permission. When you’re writing (especially your workshop scenes!) you don’t necessarily have to write your way into the story. Write what is interesting to you.
– You briefly filled out the Pixar Plot Prompt on your own. Remember, if you need a story idea (no matter how big or small) you can always structure it around this basic idea: “Once upon a time there was ____. Every day, ____. One day, _____. Because of that ____. Because of that, ___. Until finally, ____.

Homework for Monday, September 18th 

  • Read: Gotham: “Point of View: The Full Menu” (pgs. 77 – 103) Read carefully! We’ll discuss this on Monday
  • Write: Write the same brief scene or conversation (only a page or two is fine) twice: once using first person and once in third person. What happens to the scene?

Monday, September 11th

Important Announcement! I’m going to be at a writers’ conference this coming Friday (9/15) and therefore class will be canceled on that day. There’ll still be some homework for you to read on the blog (all the readings on Point of View from both books) and we’ll be talking about Point of View on Monday, when I return.

Monday, September 11th

– Detail Question: What’s one thing you’ve never done before but have always wanted to try?
– We read and responded to our Poem of the Day, “The Dark Woods” by Matthew Buckley Smith
– We briefly talked about how to format dialogue
– We discussed both Lamott and Gotham’s take on plot, and how plot should grow out of character. Remember that plot comes from the realistic obstacles that you put in your character’s way
– You had some time to brainstorm interesting obstacles to keep characters from achieving their desires

Homework for Wednesday, September 13th 

  • Read: Gotham: “Plot: A Question of Focus” (pgs. 60 – 78)
  • Read: “Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood
  • Write: In your writing journal, write a few paragraphs in reaction to this story What makes this story different from most, in terms of plot and characters? What does Atwood do that is surprising?

Friday, September 8th

Friday, September 8th

– Detail Question: What’s a verbal tic that you (or a stranger, or someone you know) find distinctive?
– We finished building our glorious class character, Kala Green! Gaze upon her loveliness. And do use her in future scenes or stories if you wish!
– We read the poem of the day, which was the strange and dialogue-centric Anne Carson Poem “Ghost Q & A

Homework for Monday, September 11th 

  • Read: Gotham: Plot: A Question of Focus (52 -59)
  • Read: Bird by Bird “Plot” (pgs. 54 – 64)
  • Write: Either begin working an a scene which features Kala or try your hand at writing a short, all-dialogue scene or story