Exploring Methods of Creative and Practical Writing<br />Concerning Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Practical Writing<br />With some grammar thrown in for good measure<br />By Cameron Leischer<br />
Rationale<br />I’ve written plenty of essays, but no nonfiction or practical writing beyond that.<br />I felt unfamiliar with composing poetry, fiction, or nonfiction and the grammar/language conventions despite studying them in undergraduate courses.<br />With knowledge of the writing and editing process, I could fit the niche of a creative writing teacher at the secondary level. <br />
Essential Questions<br />What are ways to carry out the composition process in both creative and practical writing?<br />What are the important components of each genre of writing? How are each unique or shared among the genres?<br />Are there examples of writing that will serve as exemplars for their genre? Will any of these break convention?<br />
Favorite resources<br />House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski<br />Horror novel written in an untraditional format.<br />Bagombo Snuff Box by Kurt Vonnegut<br />Vonnegut was a master of storytelling.<br />St. Mary’s Alumni Writing Workshop <br />Organized structure and a “safe zone” for having work critiqued by friends.<br />
Overview of products<br />Poetry portfolio-<br />Three poems I composed after studying others<br />Venn diagram-<br />Noting important differences in writing fiction and poetry. Exemplar of a student project.<br />Wordle-<br />Made from Kurt Vonnegut’s advice on writing in BagomboSnuff Box<br />Short Story<br />I try my hand at crafting a plot. Loosely based on moving to Lexington Park this past month<br />
Vonnegut’s eight rules for writing<br />Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.<br />Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.<br />Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.<br />Every sentence must do one of two things-reveal character or advance the action.<br />Start as close to the end as possible.<br />Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them-in order that the reader may see what they are made of.<br />Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.<br />Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.<br />
What I learned!<br />Fiction writing is HARD<br />It takes a lot of drafting and planning, as well as rewriting.<br />There are rules for structure and form, and it’s important to learn them<br />So you can break them the proper way<br />There’s a creative process to practical writing just as there is one for fiction or poetry.<br />
Enduring Understandings<br />Different forms of writing require a completely separate “bag of tricks.”<br />Grammar is best practiced and memorized like a lawyer commits the law to memory.<br />Composition is a process that only gets easier the more you practice at it.<br />
Professional Development<br />Continued practice<br />Writing poetry and hopefully fiction will continue and I will hopefully get better at it.<br />Submission of work<br />Continue membership in Alumni Workshop<br />Expanding my knowledge<br />Reading good examples of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction frequently.<br />
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