Planning out a writing course, week by week.

Trying to figure out what I'll tell these students...


I’ve talked before about my writing course that I’m teaching in September. The planning is slow, but I keep chugging away at it. I changed my textbook – now I’m using Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich. I choose it because the exercises there are easy to reword for my ESL students.

I’ve also had to devise a way to “filter” my students. I hate to impose any kind of filter on my class, but I feel it will be necessary to turn away students who have not had practice with basic creative writing. I plan to give a very simple exercise in my very first class, and I will tell students that it is a sort of test. Any students who struggle too greatly with it will be advised to take more basic writing classes instead of mine.

My new choice of book has made creating homework much easier! Every chapter in the book has great little exercises, and I’m finding it easy to reword these into assignments for the students. Each week, the assignments will practice some aspect like Setting, Characters, POV, etc. I think I will handle evaluation mainly with in-class readings and peer-review sessions.

After the midterm test, I have a series of lessons that focus specifically on short-short fiction. As you can see in the picture above, I’m not going to be incredibly strict with the definition of “Flash Fiction” – I’d rather see my students tell whole stories coherently before we worry about the word count.

During these lessons, the students will each write 3 short pieces. In the editing phase, they can choose 1 of the 3 to revise again and again into better work. They will give me that best piece at the end, instead of writing a final exam.

I hope I can get a good class out of this plan. It’s still very much in the works – as you can see, I have until September 4 to plan things out. It feels very good to work on this, though. No matter what, I’m certain that I can give my students a writing experience that they will appreciate and enjoy.

One comment on “Planning out a writing course, week by week.

  1. jazzfeathers says:

    It sounds very exiting 🙂

    I only partecipated to one writing class in my life – though I plan to do more in the future – and I enjoyed it so very much. Just being with other people who write and want to talk about writing is such a… will I say relief? Yes, I will 🙂

    Good luck for your planning. It already sounds very interesiting and inpiring to me.

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