Filed under classroom

Teaching reading vs. teaching sex

I have met a lot of teenagers who don’t like reading, some of them outright hating it. They were forced to read a novel they considered boring or had too much reading homework for comfort or just didn’t understand the significance of Oedipus no matter how much their English teacher tried to explain, and so … Continue reading

Teaching “Intro to Literature” suggestions

Next spring I’m teaching a section of “Introduction to Literature” and my curriculum will likely span across short stories, poems, at least one novel, and perhaps a play. I’m interested to hear from you, dear reader. Do you have an anthology recommendation? Any short stories or poems you find accessible or maybe a few that … Continue reading

I’m teaching English this fall.

Today’s my first day teaching English at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. I have three courses this semester, two composition and one English for academic purposes. That means I get to build on skills I’ve been using and honing the last two years plus diving into some new experiences and seeing what happens, too. … Continue reading

Expectations for a writing workshop

My aforementioned short story gets reviewed in fiction workshop tonight and I thought I’d take you on a backstage tour of my brain so you know my mentality going into the workshop… “I hope my peers in the workshop like my story, and I’m going to be okay if they don’t.” Audience is at the … Continue reading

Analyzing a Short Story: Ryan Harty (Part II)

My presentation last night went well, and it lead into a discussion on using the components of genre to one’s advantage when writing, particularly science fiction. This quickly evolved into a great, multi-faceted discussion sprawling into all sorts of speculative talk on writing, creativity, and entertainment. Our instructor, Diana Joseph, tossed out the question of … Continue reading

Workshopping a YA short story

I had another short story reviewed in fiction workshop last night and the results were mixed. The story is meant to be the opening tale in a young adult (YA) short story collection narrated by a thirteen-year-old boy about his family, his small Minnesota town, and his observations of the ridiculous world around him. That … Continue reading

My story’s workshop results

Last night saw my story, “Good Taste,” was discussed in my MFA Fiction workshop. Most comments centered on the information the main character gives the reader (and what he doesn’t give the reader). He’s selective in what details matter to him, while at the same time being really verbose in his speech. My classmates wondered … Continue reading

My story gets workshopped tonight.

At the end of January, I wrote a short story entitled “Good Taste” and submitted it for an MFA fiction workshop. Tonight, we’ll take a look at my piece to examine the choices I’ve made, their positives and pitfalls, and I’ll take extensive notes on the entire process. The workshop is small, eleven persons including … Continue reading

Elmore Leonard on “said.”

The latest blog post over at made by his assistant, Gregg Sutter, points readers to an audio interview with Leonard by Kendra Nordin about his Ten Rules of Writing, now in book form, plus a brief accompanying article by Elizabeth A. Brown. The article’s funny, and the interview is one of those rare instances … Continue reading

Entering my final semester.

I travel to Mankato in five hours to begin the final semester of my MFA in Creative Writing program. This semester sees me put my thesis to bed, take my final fiction workshop, and take a gigantic test in which I analyze six works of prose and poetry with the rigorous vigor they’ve always hoped … Continue reading