The Bologna Blog

a blog about all of the "bologna" in our minds that lead to writing.

The End of Creative Writing

with one comment

So, today is the last day of my creative writing class. I have to say, I am glad I wasn’t planning on going in that direction for my Writing Arts major. I don’t know if it was the teacher or me, but my spirit has been broken when it comes to writing creatively. I don’t like sonnets, or found poems or sound poems, and I don’t want to force my creativity by writing 3 journal entries a week. It’s not my style. But still, I did get some good feedback with my work, and also some not so amazing feedback, which also upset me. A teacher shouldn’t tell you the RIGHT way to write descriptive. Every writer has their own style, and if they and their readers are happy with it, that should be enough. Today’s writing style is a new way to write, not the only way to write. For your viewing pleasure, here are some links to 3 of my pieces.

The first piece is a project that I previously spoke about in my blog. Here is the very long comment I got on the back page of my paper:

“The End” is crossed out.

There is no trigger for the dad to change his mind. Maybe the art teacher brings over Lizette’s portfolio, or he misses her and goes into her room and sees copies of her application materials- the artwork, the letters, the resume- and realizes that she is really talented. Maybe someone else in the art field tells him how talented she is. Then he has to acknowledge that an MD was his dream, never hers.

It would be nice if there were a symbol of Dad’s change of heart- maybe he tells her on the phone that a surprise is coming, and its tickets to the Picasso show opening at MOMA.

You’ve done what I told you, and put in lots of action and dialog tags. However, some of the action is mundane and should be skipped over. Do we need to know the woman went into her should bag, pulled out a manilla envelope and handed it to Liz? Why not just she handed Liz a manila envelope. All of the extra actions drag the story. Use your details for meaningful actions.

Also, group your actions and dialouge tags. Sometimes when you have an action, you don’t need the tag.

I crossed out all the interruptions (ok, well,oh,yeah, and names). You’ll find the text reads fine without them. They become annoying to a reader. Ok for spoken but not ok for written conversation.

Don’t tell the reader how or why the characters do things. Part of the fun of reading is is figuring those things out. Show how through actions; show why through context.

Liz and Jane are overly cheery sometimes, praising each other. You could do more with Jane’s financial situation (her reaction). Mrs. Holinday is clueless.

You use setting well to advance the plot and show character.

Voice is overly wordy (narrator). Simplfy. Liz and Jane could be more distinguishable from each other.

I don’t think the scholarship should fall into her lap. Besides that, the trigger and the symbol, plot is effective.

I think you’re still feeling your way with new techniques and haven’t quite found the right balance yet. This is keeping your writing from sounding light and natural. Ease up a little and trust your natural voice a little more.



Written by augeregua

December 10, 2009 at 6:51 PM

Posted in Writing Arts

Tagged with , , , , ,

One Response

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  1. Michelle,

    First off, you definitely have a gift. I think the easiest way to determine it is by putting yourself in a situation like this… say one of your teachers tells you to write a 30-page paper about anything you want. It can be a story, a narrative, a memoir, a movie script, a play, a collection of poetry… ANYTHING, but it has to be 30 pages. Could you do it? Most of my friends would say no, but anyone who knows how to write (a.k.a people who have this gift) would be like, “What kind of dumb question is that?”

    I’ve written over 150 pages based on my own imagination, so 30 pages doesn’t really mean much to me. Judging by the amount you seem to have written here, regardless of it being good or bad, you clearly have the backbone towards being a writer. The only thing is, I read one of your earlier blogs where the teacher was like, “The story has to have this, it has to have that, and blah, blah, blah, bullshit, bullshit.” But if you want to be the best at what you do, you can’t rely on the guidelines you get from some lousy-ass teacher. You need to come up with your own and as long as you follow them, you’d be surprised what can happen.

    This might be an opinionated statement because I hate being told what to do… especially by college professors. It’s just that when you write a story/essay/article, you need to do something that will grab the reader’s attention from the get go. You want them to be like, “Wow! This sounds pretty interesting!” A good example is Hunter S. Thompson’s book ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ where he opens it up with the sentence, “We were somewhere around Barstow when the drugs began to take hold.” Anyone who is anyone will obviously continue reading to see what happens next.

    But at the same time, I feel the more background a story has, the better. I understand it’s just a dumb school assignment, but after reading the first segment, I was like why is this girl pursuing art? Does she actually want to be an artist or is she just trying to piss Papa Bear off? Or, better yet, is it a little bit of both? When you don’t give enough background in the beginning, it causes the reader to make assumptions… and this isn’t always a good thing.

    My best advice is to just keep writing. Unlike radiology, engineering, accounting, and all those other fields you need to go to school for, writing is something I naturally get better at the more I do it. I recently read ‘The Elements of Style’ by E.B White and this book literally taught me how to write from scratch. I highly recommend it… if I see you over the break, I’ll let you borrow it. I almost feel like I learned more from a stupid book than I did from all my classes combined.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t have written six full paragraphs here if I didn’t think your writing had some kind of potential. Your professor probably thought the same thing, which I think explains his equally long response. His might have sounded a little more condescending than mine, but then again I’m not the one who told you to write the story. I hope this helps and if it doesn’t, I hope it at least makes you think a bit…

    Best of luck,
    Dougie Fresh

    P.S Merry Christmas!


    December 18, 2009 at 2:32 AM

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