Creative Writing Syllabus

Jesse just blogged about the creative writing assignments I’ve given her. Just to make it clear, I don’t think I have any special kind of authority on what makes a good creative writing assignment. I was just trying to come up with a list that would cover a lot of ground, wouldn’t be easy (so she’d have to push herself a bit), but that would be at least a little fun. Here’s the assignment list that I came up with:

1) Write a short story in the first person.
2) Write a story that is composed of at least 50% dialog.
3) Write something that includes at least 28 lines of poetry.
4) Write a story in the third person.
5) Write about something that actually happened today (the day you write it), but liven it up with poetic license.
6) Write about someone in a predicament.
7) Write a fable with talking animals and that ends with the moral spelled out.
8) Write a surreal story that could never happen.
9) Pick a story and re-write it making it your own. The plot and characters should remain recognizable, but the words should be all original.
10) Write a story where the first sentence of each paragraph corresponds with the number of that paragraph. For example, the first paragraph should start with a one word sentence, the second with a two word sentence, etc.

I tried to do some research, but it seems that most professors don’t publish their assignment lists. Maybe they don’t want people to work ahead, or to spend to much time worrying about a particularly hard assignment that might be coming up. One thing that I did find interesting where the three paragraphs on this page titled “That thing called …” that you can find about 80% of the way down the page. It’s worth a read even if you aren’t a writer.

Matt did give me some ideas from his class, but anything that’s wrong with the above assignments is entirely my fault.

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