Taking the first steps to becoming a writer by Alice Bennett
Teaching creative writing is a wonderful thing. I don’t just love the subject and the opportunity to endlessly explore how words work together ~ but it is the writers who turn up week after week. They are inspiring and what surprises me most of all is that they all have a talent they are almost unaware of. I sit there in awe when they tentatively read their work. I love hearing a new voice and they turn up year after year. It stuns me when I see how hard people are prepared to work on their writing and this is the key to success. As Hemingway said, “(…) all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” The only guaranteed way to create a good piece of fiction is to just write every day and be a good critic of what you produce by reading writers who are respected, not just popular.
My first lesson with new writers is about learning how they observe the world, which leads to an understanding of their writing styles. This is useful because it saves time trying to emulate who they think they want to write like. My aim is for inexperienced writers to develop their style organically, so that it becomes natural and therefore enjoyable. Throughout the course, I use educational theory to back up some of the exercises that we do such as Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. Writers leave the first lesson with a few ideas because it is packed with little exercises about looking at things differently and being able to create ideas from everyday items and existing works.
Observation and critiquing students work are the key themes of the first course A Short Introduction to Creative Writing. I also set homework (a small amount) that writers tend to engage with because it is not time-consuming and is helpful to developing observational skills.
Fundamental to the course is that the writers learn something new each week and enjoy the sessions.
Alice is a Continuing Education lecturer and, her first course A Short Introduction to Creative Writing willbegin on the 7th of October, and, from the 20th of January Getting Better at Creative Writing. To see all of the Creative Writing programme click here http://goo.gl/j0ZLLt