“Ornithology” Poetry Analysis and Imitation Exercise

Class: Introduction to Creative Writing (The College of William & Mary) Genre: Poetry Purpose: To become more scrupulous readers of poetry In order to prepare my Intro to Creative Writing students for talking more about poetry with regard to the author’s intentionality before their poetry workshop, I’m asking them to read and examine the poem […]

“Babylon: A Place You’ve Only Heard Of” Exercise

Class: Introduction to Creative Writing (The College of William & Mary) Genre: Nonfiction Purpose: To examine how place becomes setting and to cultivate an “outsider’s” point of view Readings: “Goodbye to All That,” “Babylon,” and “No Man’s Land” from Eula Biss’s Notes from No Man’s Land and “Goodbye to All That” by Joan Didion   Think […]

“Nobody Knows Your Name” Exercise

Class: Introduction to Creative Writing (The College of William & Mary) Genre: Nonfiction Purpose: To explore the self as a character and subject Readings: Chapters 8 (“Creative Nonfiction”) in Janet Burroway’s Imaginative Writing and “Nobody Knows Your Name” of Eula Biss’s Notes from No Man’s Land Do you know the story of your name? Its […]

“Encounter” Exercise

Class: Introduction to Creative Writing (The College of William & Mary) Genre: Fiction Purpose: To explore Burroway’s concept of “Character as Image”; examine potential of non-verbal communication; and situate the reader to receive information along with a character Readings: Chapters 4 (“Character”) and Gabriel García Márquez’s “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” in Janet […]

“Joe had some water”: Intro to Creative Writing Discussion about Image, Specificity, Significance, and Precision

After talking about Janet Burroway’s Image chapter in Imaginative Writing, my class took our discussion to the white board to consider problems with translating experience and ideas in language, the fundamentals of significant detail, and the precision of language. I asked them to consider all of the possible meanings for each of these sentences: “Joe […]

“Backwards Story a Telling” Exercise

Class: Introduction to Creative Writing (The College of William & Mary) Genre: Fiction Purpose: To open up discussion about plot structure and significant details Readings: Chapters 9 (“Fiction”) and 6 (“Story”) in Janet Burroway’s Imaginative Writing Watch a viral video without taking notes. (“Texting Guy Almost Runs Into Bear”: http://youtu.be/WYsAkjfXxzU) Write a summary of what […]