Teaching Basics of Creative Writing – #2

By the way, I ended up not liking that Gardner book.  Just not my thing, is it too weird to say that it was too down? Even if we’re hearing about something terrible which wasn’t really the case with his book, I think that an author’s (uh-oh) voice influences us a lot. Margot Livesey’s The House on Fortune Street has disturbing things in the book but it is readable. If you’ve ever met her you would know that there is a certain sparkle in her eye that can always put you in a good mood. I imagine the author’s outlook on life probably has a lot to do with how they handle such topics. Choice of point of view is probably critical. If someone is committing a heinous crime and the story is told in first person, I don’t think I would be able to finish the book. Third person might provide the necessary distance to let us read about something very disturbing like child abuse without totally turning us off.

Quite a while ago, I went to a reading by some mystery authors at Johns Hopkins where one of the presenters had written a book with child abuse in it. Having children of my own, I couldn’t even begin to read his book after his talk. Not surprisingly, many “how-to” books discourage writing about such topics even if the actual acts appear off stage.

I guess that this little discussion is a reminder for my class notes that when you’re trying to talk about creative writing topics, it’s very hard to separate them.  I usually do tell my little classes that everything works together, so feel free to go back and change your character, plot, whatever, when you see that it doesn’t all fit together. I’ve written a number of draft novels and I can tell you that when it becomes “whole” you can tell. That’s when I have been known to do my Dr. Frankenstein act!

More tomorrow when I talk about what I intended to talk about today – how to teach characterization.


About marystojak

Mary Stojak has published numerous short stories, her latest will be published September 28th in Mystery Weekly.
This entry was posted in creative writing, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Teaching Basics of Creative Writing – #2

  1. Anthony Haynes says:

    I like this blog in general and hope you will do further posts about teaching creative writing. If you’d be interested in doing a guest post on http://creativewritingstudies.wordpress.com to promote this blog, do please let me know.

    • marystojak says:

      That sounds like a plan. I actually do have some “posts” in my head that I haven’t written about teaching that I want to share. Some new idea always comes to me when I’m organizing myself for a new teaching year, so I imagine the posts will continue into the future. Thanks for the thumbs up! Mary

  2. Anthony Haynes says:

    To discuss guest post, let’s use email. My address is anthony[at]professionalandhigher.com

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