Creative Writing

Ms. Laura Carey                                                       Chico High School      

530-891-3026 x605                       


"I want you to feel what I felt.  I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth."  -- Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried 


Welcome to Creative Writing, a one-semester workshop that explores the nature and practice of artistic expression through language.  Students are encouraged to experiment in fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry, but are also allowed to write primarily in their genre of choice.

Our daily routine includes sitting in a circle and writing in a notebook for 10-15 minutes from a Creative Writing prompts you'll find on the board.  (The prompt is merely a jumping-off point.  Generally, we begin by copying down the prompt then continuing to write from it.  This, however, is not law.  You may use the prompt however you like, and sometimes you may choose to ignore it in order to continue working on an on-going idea.)  The notebook, provided by the teacher, will end up being a treasure chest of your ideas from which you can begin projects.  When your notebook is full, turn it in for credit, and I'll return in to you. 
Each day, at the end of the 10-15 minute write, we will read our pieces aloud and offer feedback to one another in a "Star and a Wish" format.  That is, whenever one of your colleagues reads aloud, you will write in your notebook at least one positive comment and at least one piece of constructive criticism -- what you "wish" could be added, subtracted, or changed to the piece.  Offering this feedback to the writer is a precious gift.
It takes time for some writers to feel comfortable enough to read aloud, or give feedback aloud, to the class; therefore, we will form small groups to create a sense of safety, then within three or four weeks all writers will be expected to begin sharing with the whole class.
From time to time the daily prompt will be some other source of inspiration than a quote on the board.  We will listen to music to create tone and mood, respond to visual arts, enjoy experiences that involve the five senses, watch a film clip, read and discuss a poem or story, critique the advice from professional writers.
Assignments are also part of the course, and they are designed to enrich the content and style of your writing, to find your own special "voice", and to offer instruction in some fun and engaging types of stories and poems that will further open your hearts and minds.  Follow the links below for your assignments and due dates.
Grades are computed as follows: 
                                                                      Completed notebook = 100 points
                                                                       Self-Assessments       = 100 points, three times per semester
                                                                       Assignments                = 25 to 75 points
                                                                       Final Project (short story or memoir of 1000-2000 words;
                                                                      or collection of ten related poems)
                                                                                                                   = 200 points
Fall semester, 2008

Due 8/20:  Writing I Love and Admire     

Due 9/3:  Autobiographical Haiku

Due Th. 9/11  Self-Assessment

Due Wed. 10/8  Extended Metaphor

Due Th. 10/23  Self-Assessment

Due Fri. 11/14  Re-Visioned Fairy Tale

Due Fri 12/5  Sonnet

Due  Th. 12/11  Self-Assessment

Due Mon. 12/15  Short story, memoir, or 10 connected poems