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Writing from Experience

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Creative writing pedagogy is enjoying a rapid expansion -- college courses have rocketed from four courses in 1999 to 38 in the US, UK and Canada in 2016. Writing from Experience builds on teaching theories of established writers and scholars as well as current innovators in the field. In laying out the theoretical foundation for an experiential, discovery-based learning approach, the book is primarily aimed at those who teach at college/tertiary level. It will also be useful for teachers and students practicing the craft of writing in related fields like English, writing, linguistics, communications, composition and rhetoric and education.

Writing from Experience can be envisioned as a practical tool for overcoming hurdles that impede writers from venturing into unknown territory where discoveries take place. In other words, beyond assisting in developing and honing more cutting-edge creative writing programs, this guidebook will be extremely helpful for curious intellects in getting to the meat of the matter, generating narratives, identifying arguments, fleshing out character traits, discovering direction for plots, and developing a host of other skills that foster and embolden a literal and literary freedom of the imagination. Examples of student assignments are included in the text as well as instructions for assignments from past classes which are intended for instructors to adjust according to their needs.

Published: Jan 1, 2020


Section Chapter Authors
To The Reader: Access Creative Writing Superpowers through Investigative and Discovery-Oriented Teaching Techniques Mark Spitzer
Part 1: Discovery-Oriented Basics
1. Teaching Students to Show Not Tell Mark Spitzer
2. The New Weird: What Happens to Literary Realism When the Truth Is Stranger than Fiction Mark Spitzer
3. The Ten Commandments of Incorporating Dialogue: For Those Seeking to Inform the Unprepared, the Disengaged, and the Thoroughly Confused Mark Spitzer
Part 2: Investigative Theatrics
4. Multiple-Personality Pedagogy: Varying Voice in the Classroom Mark Spitzer
5. Extreme Puppet Theater as a Tool for Writing Pedagogy Mark Spitzer
6. May the Farce Be With You: Reflections on “Extreme Puppet Theater” as a Vehicle toward “Something Else” Mark Spitzer
7. Pointers for Performance of Poetry and Prose Mark Spitzer
Part 3: Programmatic Discoveries
8. How to Sell a Creative Writing Program to The Higher-Ups (Or Pimping Your Ride to Those Who Don’t Know) Mark Spitzer
9. Ten Recommendations for Growing Creative Writing Programs Mark Spitzer
10. What We Don’t Talk about When We Talk about Creative Writing Programs: A Conversation with Dr. Stephanie Vanderslice Mark Spitzer
Part 4: Eco-Investigations
11. Introducing “Eco” to the Homies: A Liberal Professor’s Activist Approach Mark Spitzer
12. Experience Investigative Eco-Fiction Mark Spitzer
13. From Wild People to Wilderness: An Education in Researching Monsters in Our Midst Mark Spitzer
Part 5: Experiential Exercises
14. Seven Investigative Group Exercises Mark Spitzer
15. Four Investigative Exercises for Individual Self-Discovery Mark Spitzer
16. Six Investigative Homework Exercises for Encouraging Literary Citizenship Mark Spitzer