Thursday, October 15, 2015

This Week's Creative Writing Class

It's not far from the end of the year and the end of this subject at my school. The electives have been rearranged to make room for one more period of science and that means scrapping most of the electives and arranging the remaining ones differently. And my Year 10 students only have a very few weeks before they do their exams and leave us. Between now and then, there is at least one Year 10 excursion on a Tuesday, when I have this class, and Cup Day.

So I have to make the best of what time is left. I think my policy of stories that are short is working. There's less chance of someone starting off a story that just can't be finished. One of the girls has started one that looks like it might not work because it will be too long and never finished. She isn't sure where she is going with it and won't take my advice to write the last scene. I will have to sit her down and get her to plan it out, or ask her to drop it and try one of the story starters I have supplied. She has been doing quite well so far, but this isn't going to work.

I must think about this some time today and leave some instructions, because next week, I am the one who is not going to be there, at least till the second half of the session - there is a funeral to attend, alas! Fortunately not too far away and there will be other staff going. I might grab everyone when I return and set up a round robin story we can all write together. I will need to keep the theme simple.

Two of my other students have proved to be a pleasant surprise - nobody in this class is ever going to be a professional writer, but they have come up with the goods regularly.

But so far, there is only one student who has not quite managed to produce anything publishable - not finish, anyway. However, this week, I persuaded her to go back to her first piece for the semester and take a section of it to expand. It worked, sort of. She did finish something, that needs editing, but she finished it. Unfortunately, she has been a bit distracted recently and sneaked in some time doing on line job applications when she should have been writing.

Still - she managed some poems the other week, when we went to an education web site that does templates, and read them aloud to the class. I think that worked. It was very exciting to see her write - and read out - completed poems. That told me that even a student who is distracted can manage something if it's structured enough. It's not that she can't write, it's just that she starts stories and can't finish them and then won't drop them as soon as she realises this. She did tell me that she writes in Wattpad(I don't have her details) and I believe her, but Wattpad encourages the authors to break everything up into short chapters, so they simply keep writing till they run out of steam and call it a chapter. Not good. And there just isn't time to encourage her to break that habit. We have one session a week and she doesn't have the Internet at home, so doesn't update her work there.

What can I do now? Any suggestions?

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