Saturday, September 15, 2007

Creative Writing Classes

Today, I began facilitating the first of a series of eight Creative Writing classes. I must admit that I felt like I fell into the whole thing by accident. I didn't allow myself to believe that they were going to happen, because I thought that no-one would come. Imagine my pleasure and surprise to read about them in the local paper (once again) and then be told yesterday that the classes were actually over-subscribed by participants!

So today we set off down the writing road, beginning at the beginning - with basic CW techniques of clustering and freewriting, to free up the mind and imagination and then ending with homework of creating a character and then 'taking them for a walk.' Next week we'll get stuck into critiquing techniques and how to improve writing through criticism.

It's fantastic to be at the other end of a period of learning, where I'm now translating all the learning into facilitating other people's writing development. There were times when I was in the midst of the Literature degree, when I wondered what the hell I was doing it for.

How I smiled inwardly today as a class participant advocated for a plot first, character second, type of approach. Rather than get tied in knots, I cited Henry James as an example of an author with a character in search of a novel: The Portrait of a Lady, as opposed to an author with a novel plot in search of characters: Wilkie Collins and The Woman in White. It brought back many memories of the same conversation on the OU conferences and I must say that it is nice to know now, what all that study and endless essay writing was for. Ginnie Woolf - eat your heart out :)

8 comments:

Jan said...

If it's like my experience ( ie "enabling" a creative writing class) you'll learn lots and lots yourself and it's great way to do this..

Cailleach said...

I learned quite a bit today, Jan, I think it will help push me out of my comfort zone, which is always a good thing. That and being nimble on me feet.

Jon M said...

Oversubscribed Yay! I'm not the least bit jealous you know Barbara, what with you teaching creative writing in the land of the Gods and having a book ready to be published and everything...
:-) It's got to be good!!!

CyberScribe said...

I remember a creative writing class which started with each person being asked to write a paragraph. The page was folded over (to conceal what had been written) and then passed on to the person beside who wrote another paragraph.When completed each person read in full what had been written. The result of that exercise started me of blogging ;-) ;-)

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

What an amazing experience for you. And I'm sure you'll learn as much as you teach! Go, girl!

Cailleach said...

Thanks very much guys - Cyberscribe, that sounds like an interesting experience!
AV - learning by doing is my favourite way.
Jon m - I really was astonished at the interest generated - I really hope the class get what they want out of the series.

Carole said...

You sound as though you're a dream of a teacher!

Cailleach said...

We'll wait and see what their feedback is first, Carole - but thanks!