Introduction to Creative Writing

WHERE ARE WE GOING WITH THIS?  (Our Third Quarter Project)

Objective  (What?)

Write a poem that uses professional elements (concepts) effectively (SLO #3); create a professional poetry submission to the Leeward Community College Language Arts Poetry Contest 2012. Utilize all resources available to you (including those from this course: your text, colleagues, instructor, etc.) to write, revise, and submit that winning poem.

Introduction   (Why?) 

The ultimate goal of most writers is to share their work with the world: to publish or perform it somewhere, for someone. The final project for this class (which we will complete down the road, during the final quarter) will provide you with that opportunity; you will choose an ideal venue for your finest work (be it a story, poem, or play) and prepare (and submit or perform) a piece for it. To get ready for that challenge, it's a good idea to practice this process.  As an “emerging” poet, you have a wonderful opportunity to do just that, here at Leeward Community College. While most professional poets struggle like mad to get published--sending out submission after submission after submission (and receiving rejection after rejection after rejection!)--just for the gratification (and maybe prestige) of being published, YOU (yes, you!) have the opportunity not only to have your work published but also to be PAID for it . . . and to be paid WELL, at that! 

The Problem  (Where?  When?  Who?)

Most professional poetry journals pay very little for the poems they publish--if they pay at all--and they are not particularly friendly to unknown and/or beginning poets. However, the annual Leeward Community College Language Arts Poetry Contest was created specifically for beginning poets studying here at Leeward CC, and it awards its winners publication in Ka Mana’o (our campus fine-arts magazine) as well as cash prizes ($300 for first place, $200 for second place, and $100 for third place). So, how about we work together and see if we can get someone (or someONES) from this class to win that contest?

The contest deadline this year is November 21 (see contest flyer and guidelines), and you have the opportunity to utilize the resources available through this course to help you create, revise, and submit what *might* be that winning poem. You’ve got three weeks!

In your Workshop group, brainstorm that action plan for how you will support each other in the writing/revising/submission process and boost one (or more) of your group members to Leeward CC poetry *stardom*. Then follow that plan, and submit those poems!   (Winner[s] will buy us all dinner, to celebrate!) 

Remember that the ultimate goal of this project is to learn more about "good" poetry while we practice preparing and submitting work for publication or performance at various venues, so, while winning the poetry contest would be wonderful, it is not our main goal. Besides, none of us really knows who the judges for the contest are or what their poetry “tastes” are, so the most we can do is help each other create the best submissions we can--after that, it’s in the hands of . . . well, we don’t really know!

Tasks  (How?)  


During the first half of the semester, you learned some techniques and concepts to help you polish your reading, writing, and Workshopping skills. Now it’s time to apply them and master them so that once this class is over, you can create and facilitate your own Writers’ Workshop and continue to grow as a writer. As practice, and to facilitate the creation and revision of your award-winning poem, your Workshop group now has the opportunity to create your own learning module for the next few weeks! (You may use your group’s planning GoogleDoc--where I have set up areas for all of the following tasks--and Discussion Forum as your “home bases” for this project--you may also create others as necessary.)

First, share (with your group--see suggestions in planning GooglDoc) your ideas for how you can work together to deepen your understanding and writing of poetry during these three weeks, as you draft and revise your poem. Then, as a group, agree on some common goals/activities (i.e., milestones) for this three-week project, to ensure that it will be meaningful and productive (you may review some best practices, in the table below, if you wish).  Remember to zero in on your poetry "trouble" spots (i.e., those areas identified as weaker ones for you, in the feedback from Melanie and your colleagues during the "Poetry Round-One" Workshop.  Finally brainstorm a list of tools, resources, and techniques available (through this course and the “outside” world) to help your group on your journey to those winning poems.

The following are tasks (organized by course SLOs) that lifelong and “professional” writers do to improve our reading, Workshopping, and writing skills:  

To “integrate the main concepts in the writing of poetry, fiction and screenwriting/playwriting” (SLO #1), we LEARN, REFLECT ON, AND INTEGRATE MAIN CONCEPTS ELEMENTS (see rubrics):
  • Read textbook chapters and/or professional publications (learn what the elements are)
  • Take notes (reinforce understanding of the elements)
  • Do reading reflections (figure out how to apply elements to our own writing)
  • Teach/share with others (“stabilize” our knowledge, and deepen it)
  • Explore the “real world” (learn more about elements important or confusing to us)  

To better “analyze and evaluate published poetry, short stories, and scripts” (SLO #2), we READ/ANALYZE PROFESSIONAL WORKS:
  • Consult “experts” to select model works to read
  • Read as many works as possible, ideally with others
  • Identify whether they are effective and, if so, what elements make them effective
  • Analyze their message/techniques
  • Discuss their elements/effectiveness with others
  • Search for, and explore, unfamiliar publications and/or performances/readings
  • Choose elements to emulate
  • Brainstorm ways of incorporating these elements into our own writing

To “apply a writing process (pre-writing, drafting, revising, critiquing, editing)” (SLO #3) we PRACTICE VARIOUS STEPS OF THE WRITING PROCESS:
  • Create a list of ideas (“seeds” for works)
  • Choose a “seed” to work with
  • Freewrite
  • Select a genre (and possibly structure)
  • Identify writing goals and/or audience
  • Outline
  • Draft
  • Present pieces in Workshop
  • Solicit feedback
  • Provide feedback to others (on their work)
  • Analyze and assess feedback
  • Decide on a revision “action plan”
  • Revise
  • Solicit more feedback
  • Revise some more
  • Consult an expert or editor as to whether piece is “ready” for the world
  • Submit/publish/perform work
  • Reflect on what Workshop steps were useful, and revise any procedures/rules that need adjusting; make plans for improving your next Workshop  


Use your brainstormed lists to create a three-week group action plan to help each other toward your objective (your winning poem submissions to the Language Arts Division Poetry Contest).

You may use the planning table for this step (Step 2: Creating an Action Plan) available on your group’s planning GoogleDoc.


As a group, use Melanie’s Doodle form to set up your in-person or virtual meeting, to discuss your action plan (and tools needed) and discuss roles (including the instructor’s) and follow-up activities/meetings. At your meeting, you will set up some guidelines for your group and anticipate potential challenges/obstacles (and brainstorm solutions for them); changes may be made to your action plan, to make it more effective/efficient.


Tackle those action items and complete your individual and group weekly reflections/check-ins with Melanie and with the class. Track your progress on your group’s planning Googledoc.


Schedule your group’s check-in meeting with Melanie, and meet as planned; bring your questions.


Post/perform your finished products to the class (Discussion Forum "Showcase" board) for assessment and feedback.  Provide critiques/feedback to two poets who have not yet received any feedback.  (Note: Once all students have received one critique, you may serve as a second reviewer for a poem.)


Make your final poem revisions, and submit your poem to the contest (CC your submission to me).


Finally, post your individual, small-group, and full-class reflections to review what you learned from the project experience (process) and would like to incorporate into your future reading/writing; as a group, discuss ways to integrate these elements into your future individual, small-group, and large-group writing/reading/Workshopping endeavors. Also determine what did NOT work so well, and suggest ideas for adjusting your Workshop to avoid and/or tackle these challenges.

Give yourselves a well-earned pat on the back!    ;-) 

Rubrics for Assessments

Task 1 - Reflection Rubric

Resource Links

Facilitator's Guide
Emc Leeward,
May 18, 2012, 1:47 PM