Thursday, May 23, 2013

Final Days Update :-(

This has been a great couple of weeks! Thanks for being so dedicated.

Today/Thursday will be our writing marathon.

Friday: Your final five pages are due. Typed, copied for a last workshop and I have some things to teach regarding publishing.

We'll discuss this in class but in case you see this before and want to think about it: what about we select five or so pages for a workshop? Choose something that you really like or that you feel the class would enjoy seeing how it turned-out, say, a completed version of a work-in-progress. Or just pick your favorite pages of writing from the week, even if disconnected. Your prettiest, strangest, wildest or just your most unique work that might not have happened without one of the marathon-sections really pushing you.

Then, if you would like, you can turn in your fifteen pages by Monday before 5 p.m. through email.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


With enough copies for all of us.  (Eight copies should do it.)

For those of you who missed part of a day:  we did writing marathons today. I would read and you would write and imitate a portion of story. Email me if you'd like more of those or would like a version of the assignment to help you to prepare for tomorrow.

Please remember that we are meeting in the Crane Multipurpose Room from here on out.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Go Story-ers!

Kathrine Wright cheers you on!

Also, here are some stories that you can read as we proceed through the week:

How to Talk to a Hunter Pam Houston

Hills Like White Elephants Ernest Hemingway

Cathedral by Raymond Carver

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Enjoy the wide-open fields of short story discoveries.  (Though a plan to allow some planlessness is still a plan.)

Here are some maps from the novelists. (And novels too, hold magic and mystery for the writer, but they happen between planned rest stops and exits.)


Good Morning, Gang,

A couple of things to help you out with the assignment and tonight's homework.

For the written letter (and your subsequent workshop letters)  to Amy Hemphel, consider the following approach:

1. What are the strongest things about the story for you? Describe how they are working for you as a reader.

2.  What are the story's weaknesses? Are there places, details, word-choices that might be polished, changed, refined?

3. Character development. Are all of the characters well-developed and necessary? Did something strike you as not ringing true?

4. Consider writing style, literary moves (alliteration, assonance, consonance, metaphor, simile,) and the general pace of the writing. Be sure to note things that you notice and enjoy, as well as those that seem excessive, etc.

5. Give a general sense of your reading first-time through to final reading. Maybe you found something confusing the first time around but then with a closer read it cleared up? Maybe you found the ending to be too sudden or wrapped-up or unsatisfying.  Maybe you just loved the writing and envied certain images. All of these are great material for your letter.

The Gallery Piece:

The assignment that I gave to Michael might need some tailoring now that you're read Camoin's list story (The Things I Did to Make it Possible).

If so, here's a simple way to approach it:
Find a piece of artwork in the museum, a gallery, etc.
List a minimum of 15 concrete words from it.
Use as many of those words as you can in a story that you write made in a list format.
Don't forget how helpful a title can be to directing us to have a sense of what your topic is.

Finally, don't worry too much about making sense at first. It's better to do a lean line drawing and have good lines and then flesh it out later.

Remember how engaging Camoin's piece was because of detail and the way that there was a mystery to what was causing his tension/worry.  Let yourself have lines like that.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Reading Assignment for Tonight

Amy Hemphel 

A new unrelated scene (but with the same characters) include:

Banana mint
a kind of toy
a paper airplane
a weather pattern
a postcard partially legible
a geranium
something fallen
 a scrap of music

Additionally,  there should be an external interruption to the scene.  

Monday, May 13, 2013

Writing Fiction

Welcome!  What a fun first class. Can't wait to see more from all of you.  Remember we have a 9:15 start time tomorrow and that your cards should work to get you into the building.

First day assignment. Composite character sketch from the following information:

1. Who is this person?  Give one of his/her names and its origin
 2. Describe the character’s eyes and hair.
3. Where was the character born? How far does s/he live from that place now?
4. How many siblings?
5. Favorite ice cream
6. Pet/s and names.
7. Does this person have any allergies?
8. What moves this person to tears?
9. What leaves him/her cold?
10.  How does this person feel about children?
11. What does your character see when looking upon this Rorschach blot?

(start off with name/nickname and origin again)
12. Name one thing that scares your character.
13. What is his or her favorite food?
14. What does she or hate to eat?
15. Which language or languages does s/he speak?
16. Mode of transportation.
17. Favorite music and why?
18. One physical oddity.
19. On a desert island, if only one “extra” might be packed, what would your character bring?
20. Name something that s/he has given away or thrown out and regretted doing so.
21. What does your character see in this blot?

For tonight's homework: type up the characters' sketches and add, fill-in or even subtract a bit from them.   Create two characters that you are able place in a scene together.

Then, write a scene (minimum two pages or 400 words) and find a way to subtly bring in those details.  Where would they be? What is their destination?

Bring all three things typed and ready for discussion on Tuesday.  (Generally, I have you bring in copies for the whole class--ten copies, if you include me). We won't do that until we are workshopping, so just one typed and edited copy of each will be fine.