Tuesday, March 8, 2011

So I'm Thinking...

We'll be doing in-house critiques on a regular basis, so that's covered.

We'll continue to have author interviews and other Interesting Things.

And of course, there's ALWAYS something going on in the forums.  (Have you been there lately? I mean...they're hoppin'! Lizzy is doing an amazing job running that place.)

But that leaves me with the big question: What else do you need from me?

I'm going to be writing a weekly feature for you.  It's going to be called The Basics.  And it's going to cover everything about writing that is NOT about the industry.  In other words, it's going to be about the WRITING.

As in, writing.

Because, I hate to say it--well, I don't hate to say it, actually, because it's true--but some English and Creative Writing teachers are teaching bad writing habits instead of good ones.  They're not doing it on purpose.  And if they knew they were doing it, I think they'd stop.

I'm not talking about non-fiction, by the way.  I think most of them have the term-paper, research-paper, two-page-report-on-the-boring-life-of-Emily-Dickinson thing down.  And more power to them, because I kind of hate that stuff.

I'm talking FICTION.  You know.  The good stuff.  *grin*

To be fair to them (and, for what it's worth, one of the people who influenced me the most as a writer was one of my English teachers), they're stuck with the curriculum.  And curriculum does-not-equal the be-all end-all of what it means to WRITE FICTION WELL.

So.  I'll attempt to fill in the spaces.  Correct the wrong thinking.  And help you all to write like AUTHORS instead of like ENGLISH STUDENTS.

If you know what I mean.

How does that sound?

(Oh, and those non-fiction writing assignments you're receiving from your teachers or parents?  I WANT YOU TO WRITE THOSE WELL, TOO.  I may hate writing them, but I believe anyone who calls himself a writer should take ALL writing assignments seriously, whether they flip your chocolate chip cookie or not.  So no slacking!)


  1. I know what you mean. The writers of the fiction writing curriculums seem to know NOTHING about writing. And they only let us right contemporary short stories, no genre fiction. :(

    It started out when they tried to get us to use said-isms to be more creative. Then they taught us that revision is basically just checking for grammar and spelling errors. By now I just use "said" anyway when I'm writing for school. :)

  2. Sounds awesome! I've had plenty of trouble with English teachers, mainly over layout and the use of indenting in paragraphing.

  3. Brittany, that's EXACTLY the kind of thing I'm talking about! And my first post is going to be about "said." Pet peeve of mine! ;)

    Oh Scribbler, I hope I haven't opened a can of worms. ;P LOL

  4. kelvorhis in N. IndianaMarch 9, 2011 at 8:22 AM

    Oh, I agree about English teachers not knowing how to teach Fiction (and I'm an English teacher). I believe I'm an anomaly in my high school because I tend to think like a writer, not an English teacher. Yes, I teach an advanced technical writing class and the required curriculum, but I alway insert a little bit of 'fiction-thinking' into it. I just finished teaching a trimester of Creative Writing, and it took several weeks to convince my students that they were authors and had the opportunity to be creative. I now have students who couldn't enroll in the class clamoring at my door.

    Out of the eight teachers in my department, I am the ONLY one who avidly reads and writes fiction. I actually read more than the librarian, and she, along with the rest of the high schools staff, often consult me on titles, authors, etc. Students who have had me for classes, now ask me if I know 'so-and-so' in person or on Twitter, or if I know when his/her next book is being released.

    I'm beginning to think I am meant to be strictly an Author/Creative Writing teacher.

    Brittany, I think that's terrible that you write contemporary short stories only. I usually let my students choose what genre in which they wish to write. I recently had romance, horror, fantasy, science fiction, suspense, etc.

    Authoress, hope you don't mind me commenting here. Working with promising teen writers is a passion of mine. :)

  5. kelvorhis -- I am DELIGHTED that you've commented here! I love your passion for working with teen writers, and I'm grateful for your affirmation of what I've said here (I was admittedly tentative about saying it, not wanting to be misunderstood). You sound like an AWESOME teacher. Truly!

    And would love to pick your brain some time!

  6. This sounds like a great feature--I'm always up for pointers!

    Lol, 'said' is one of my favorite words. ^_~*