Tag Archives: pedagogy

This Blog is a Waste of My Time: Thoughts on the Three-Year Anniversary of The Big Thing

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this blog. Last week, I wrote about “lore” and informally trading teaching information vs. formally publishing teaching research. This blog began because in 2010, I wrote an essay about teaching.  I realized that … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching, Writing | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

This Blog is Lore: How We Talk about Teaching Creative Writing

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This blog began because I like to talk about teaching. I always have. I stepped in front of a class for the first time in 1991. I was a rookie grad student, and once I got over my stage fright, … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Last Lecture: What matters more: Story or Sentence?

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Every time I teach novel writing, I end the semester with a “Last Lecture” on a topic that’s been on my mind all semester long. Last spring, I wrote about learning to self-identify as a writer; this post, “Am I … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching, Writing | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

“I can’t do this anymore.”

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I’m having a real crisis. I’m starting to wonder if teaching a novel-writing class with 15 students can really be done. Let me explain. This semester, I taught Advanced Fiction, a 400-level course at Ball State which I teach as … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Is “literary citizenship” just a nice way of saying “hype?”

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Last week, I created a mid-term survey for my novel writing class. I wanted to know how things were going. Fine, it seems, but I did get this comment: “Though the class has a solid layout, I feel it’s taught … Continue reading

Posted in Literary Citizenship, Teaching | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

David Haynes: “My goal is to produce novelists, not novels.”

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This is important: no matter what Chad Harbach and John Stazinski say, my little informal survey did NOT indicate that MFA programs concentrate solely on short stories. They are not “anti-novel.” At least not on purpose anyway. The perception that … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, Teaching, The Biggest Things | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Survey Results: 56% say MFA favors story over novel

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It is possible to teach novel writing in MFA programs, and many do. My panelists (David Haynes, Patricia Henley, Sheila O’Connor, and Elizabeth Stuckey-French) prove it here, by sharing their syllabi with you. You’ve got everything you need to design your … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, Teaching, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Novel-Writing Class Best Practices

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If you’d like to teach a class in novel-writing but don’t know how, have no fear. My panel is here! David Haynes, Patricia Henley, Sheila O’Connor, Elizabeth Stuckey-French, and I have all taught the course, and we’ve compiled a Best … Continue reading

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Take My Survey about Novels in MFA Programs

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“Of all the ambient commonplaces about MFA programs, perhaps the only accurate one is that the programs are organized around the story form.” Chad Harbach said this in his n+1/Slate essay, “MFA or NYC?” Do you think he’s right? I … Continue reading

Posted in CW Programs, Teaching, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Weekly Words

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I require my novel-writing students to turn in 2,250 words a week for 12 weeks. If they turn in the words, they get 25 points. If they don’t turn in the words (or turn in less than 2,250), they don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching, Writing | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments