I’m Teaching a Writing Class!

Well, I can’t believe I proposed it, got accepted, and I’m going to do it.

I’m going to teach a flash fiction course at my university.  The students are mostly Koreans who speak English as their second language. What can I teach them?

I know what I CAN’T teach them – I can’t teach them to be expert, professional writer (even if I actually fell into that category myself). I’ve 15 weeks of semester, so that’s just not possible.

Okay, so what CAN I teach them?

I will run through the basics of writing, with Making of a Story as one guide, and a multitude of internet resources. I can share flash fiction pieces I find online, and I can get my students reading sites like Every Day Fiction. I can teach basic critical analysis, and I also plan on giving a primer on the world of e-publishing.

There’s no final exam in my plan for the course. Instead, I’m thinking of having a self-published anthology of the students’ best works that goes up on Smashwords, Kindle, Lulu, CreateSpace, and anywhere else that accepts self-published writing.

This gives the students a look at the basic process, and my university likes the idea because it puts the name of the institution on internationally published work. Will the book be a masterpiece? Well…. let’s say I hope it at least gives the students confidence that they CAN keep improving and that they CAN get published.

After I’ve done this course once or twice, I plan to publish my curriculum and syllabus – I hope that what I get out of this will also prove useful to other aspiring writers.

If you, my readers, have any ideas or suggestions for what I should put into a flash course, please leave your comments!

Until next time, I’ve got A LOT of work to do!

#IWSG – Write-ins are fun (and essential)

My little contribution to the Insecure Writer’s Group this month is a commentary on a write-in I went to today.

The Busan Writing Group met today, and we all wrote away together. One member supplied the prompt from a workshop he had attended in the past:

I don’t know why I remember {something}, but …

We all agreed to start our works with this line or a slight variation. We gave ourselves a limit of 1 hour and 1000 words.

What came out?

One member devised two poems from the line. Another wrote two whole pieces, each around 1000 words. I managed one, terrible work, of around 650 words. Maybe it just seemed to me that mine was really bad – the other works all sounded much better!

I asked if the other members had MFAs or other similar degrees. No one did, yet. What was the difference? They practice. They write. Every day. I write often, but every day? No, I can’t claim that – and I think it shows as my concepts that develop as I write are far bigger than my writing skill can handle. I need more experience writing to both a) know what ideas I can work with in a certain word limit and b) know writing tricks to handle the big concepts in my head.

I think everyone at the write-in got something out of it. The time-limit, and the kinship of knowing that your peers are writing alongside you is just invaluable. I’m not sure the feeling can be adequately recreated online – I felt far more motivated to write than I’ve ever felt in any online group.

So my questions for the IWSG are:

What are your experiences with write-ins?

Have you ever tried an online “write-in”?

Do you also find that meeting in person motivates you more strongly than meeting and writing online?