My Creative Writing Class
Creative Writing is unlike any other form of writing. The process of creating something that did not previously exist; something has its own meaning.
|When I registered for my very first
creative writing class in college, I thought it would be so easy! And why not? I'd been
writing poems and stories since I was a child and my family and friends had always really
enjoyed them. I was eager to show the world how gifted and clever I was!
At that time, I thought that well-written poetry should always rhyme, and that most stories should have a happy ending. I was pretty comfortable with my writing technique even though I'd never had any formal training other then a few writing classes in high school. I didn't really think that there was much more that I needed to know.
When I walked into the classroom the first day, I
wasn't prepared for what awaited me. Everybody seemed so experienced and talented! Many of
the students had already been published! As I looked over the syllabus for the semester,
words about genre, form, images and tone caught my eye. It was then that I realized that a
strong desire to write is only just the beginning, in the process of Creative Writing!
While I have taken several literature and writing
courses in the last couple of years, I am far from being an expert on the subject. For
anyone who might be debating whether or not taking a class could be beneficial, maybe my
observations as a student will help with your decision.
There are many different strategies for finding topics to write about, such as free writing or brainstorming, the use of dreams and memories, and incorporating first- hand experiences into my writing.
Writing down whatever comes to mind, no matter how simple or strange, is a good way to generate ideas.
All of us have memories, good and bad, and the emotions that are generated with these memories can develop into splendid poems and stories. In one of my classes, we were encouraged to try to remember people or places in our past that made us feel happy or proud, sad or afraid and to write down our feelings that associated with these memories.
I had a wonderful teacher, who often reminded us to listen to those
"inner voices in our heads", and let them evolve into characters with distinct
personalities. She also taught us the rule, "show don't tell" when drafting a
poem or story. It is one of the secrets to successful writing. Using lots of colorful
images and interesting details helps the reader visualize the situation and allow the
story to "come alive". A strong image can become symbol, which will take on a
new meaning beyond itself.
The rules in my class were simple. When it was my turn to read a
story or poem, the rest of the class listened quietly and carefully until I finished. Then
I sat in silence, (usually with sweaty palms and pounding heart!) while each of my peers
commented on my efforts. It's difficult at first, to avoid interrupting with a thank-you
for the one who offers praise or to argue the merits of my work with the one who doesn't
exactly care for it! I've found that listening to each critique with an open mind is
important. Although I don't always agree with the comments, they are often useful
nonetheless, when revising my poem or story.
Many times, there are occasions in which you can take part in public
readings. There are always functions within the college community that allow new writers
to share their work with others. Though it can be nerve-wracking at first, it is essential
for a writer to learn the art of public speaking! Reading your work to an audience will
give your work more exposure and offers immediate responses. Sometimes the poem or story
will take on a whole new feel when read aloud. Often a successful reading will lead to
invitations of others!
Often teachers are published authors themselves and are happy to share their own experiences. Several of mine are, and the very fact that these people who I greatly admire, are normal, living, breathing people not unlike myself, motivates me in my own efforts to become a writer!