There are many different topics that you could cover in a creative writing 101 course, but which ones should you include? In this article, we will discuss the essential information you need to know to successfully teach this subject.
One of the first things that you will want to establish with your students is the importance of genres. Not all creative writing is created equal, and you need to make sure that your students understand the differences between genres before they start writing. As a general rule of thumb, you should aim to teach your students how to choose a topic in a way that will naturally lead to them choosing a genre that suits their taste. For example, if you are teaching a general writing course, you could start by having your students choose a character from a novel or play they have read or watched. Once they have completed a short story or novel about this character, they will have the opportunity to choose a genre that they think the piece will fit into.
Another important item to cover in a creative writing 101 course is thematic. There are certain writing techniques that can be used to create effective and innovative stories, and you should make sure that your students understand how to use these techniques to the fullest potential. Some of the most common techniques that are covered in this class are:
- Alliteration – Repeating sounds or words in an attempt to represent the sense of repetition that often accompanies great poetry or songs.
- Enjambment – Using literary devices like enjambment to create momentum and flow within your writing.
- Asyndeton – Unreliable or indistinct verb conjugations mixed with vivid imagery to create a sense of adventure and excitement.
- Metaphor – Using a metaphor to describe a thing or action in terms that are not usually applied to it.
- Hyperbole – Using exaggeration to great effect, like when a speaker says something is the most beautiful sunset, or the coldest place on earth.
- Personification – Describing a non-human entity in terms of the actions and reactions of human beings, like when people talk about the sea as a being with thoughts and feelings.
A final important item that you will want to cover in a creative writing 101 course is structure. There are certain patterns and structures that allow you to effectively tell a story, and understanding these patterns is vital if you want to create engaging and innovative texts. The most basic structure that you will want to cover in this class is the framework. This is the structure that you should use to begin every story you write. Every story you write should have a beginning, a middle, and an end – however, these elements do not necessarily need to be in the same order as in any particular story. You can use the framework of a short story to begin developing an entire novel or vice versa. Knowing how to use this basic structure effectively is a great place to start. Once you know how to use the framework of a short story, you can begin to add additional elements like dialogue, action, or even a flashback.
A final important topic that you will want to cover in a creative writing 101 course is history. Not all stories are created equal, and you need to make sure that your students understand the elements that allowed for this particular story to come to life. For instance, if you are writing a fantasy story, you will want to cover topics such as history of writing, history of fantasy books, and history of the genre. Knowing the history of writing is important because it allows you to identify specific writing techniques that were used centuries ago and still used today. Understanding the history of fantasy books and the genre itself is important because it allows you to choose topics that are naturally suited to your students. For example, if you are teaching a class full of young adults, you could have them write stories about historical events that took place in their lifetime or that of someone close to them. This will naturally lead them to choose a topic in the history genre, something that they can write about in-depth and with great detail.
One of the most useful things that you can do for your students is help them find their unique voice. This is an important element to establish early on since your students will have lots of different ideas about what their voice is. You can do this by regularly having voice workshops, where you will read students’ work-in-progress and provide feedback. During these workshops, you will listen to and encourage your students’ unique ideas while also pointing out areas where they can improve. With enough guidance and feedback, your students will find their voice and you will be able to create amazing things together.
In summary, the above information should help you determine what topics you will cover in your creative writing 101 course. While some topics, like character and theme, may be pertinent to most creative writing courses, others like structure and history are more specific to certain sub-genres. Regardless, all creative writing students should be able to benefit from a basic understanding of these topics.