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In this unit, writers will implement the elements of creative fiction to write vivid short stories. As a community of writers, we will strive to write interesting works of short fiction by reading work across a broad spectrum of content and form, and from this learn how to read these pieces both as a scholar and as a creative writer. At the end of the unit, authors will produce a collection of short stories that engages the reader with interesting plots and conflicts, characterization, clear tone and mood conveyed through precise voice and vivid imagery.
- How do we use the writing process and peer feedback to revise our writing?
- How can we use our experiences or memories as material for our writing?
- How can we use our writing to help us better understand the world?
- How can we use our knowledge of genre, character, structure, setting, plot, conflict, etc. to reach our readers?
- How do we express ourselves in a creative and original way?
fiction, genre, plot, imagery, details, character, conflict, characterization, tone, mood, theme, feedback, revision
Exercise A: Pre-writing Reading from The Zen of Writing
Objective: Writers will close read and respond ideas about the importance of writing presented in the Preface of Ray Brandbury’s The Zen of Writing.
Exercise B: Stories seeking an author
Exercise C: Images Seeeking a Plot
Objective: After reading to an excerpt from John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, students will explore the importance of memory as raw creative material by responding to “I don’t know why I remember” prompt.
Handouts: Student Sample, Mentor Text from from East of Eden
Exercise D: Characters want something, so… Part 1 Plot
Objective: After reading Christopher Isherwood’s “Goodbye Berlin” students will notice the importance of point of view and render vivid details to describe a scene without trying to explain or interpret it as material for Creative Nonfiction piece.
Exercise E: Characters want something because… Part 2 Character Profiles
Objective: To elicit fresh and surprising insights into your relationship to family, friends, community, and the world.
Handouts: Ian McEwan’s Advice for Aspiring Writers,
Exercise F: I Want to Know Why
Objective: Identify interesting gaps in your understanding or knowledge in order to generate raw material for short stories.
Handouts: How to tell if you’re a writer, John Iriving, Student Sample
Exercise G: Where I’m From Story
Objective: The exercise will help writers identify important characters from inner circle of friends and background characters that reveal a sense of place.
Exercise G: Where I’m From Poem
Objective: This exercise will help elicit fresh and surprising insights into your relationship to friends, neighborhood, and community.