Sunday, 24 January 2010

Some ways to open a story & avenues for publication

Hope you didn't forget the Mslexia short story competition, if you are female, that is. Closes 25th January - tomorrow! Here's the link, but if you've missed it, never mind... on the website you can find exercise ideas in their archived monthly workshops -- another good source for you!

Some ways to open a story, that's the exercise I put on my website for this term, which I realise now I haven't yet mentioned. So if you hit this blog first, or if you haven't recently revisited Creative Writing: the Matrix website, this is the link that will take you right to the goodies. It will get your students pushing and exploring. Dialogue? Landscape? Interior? Character? Cleverly, you can impose your will on them, and expand this exercise to a full, say, 45 minutes, or keep it shorter.

PS if this is your first visit to this blog from the website then you've seen the Sample Inside page for this term -- sorry to repeat! But then if you look at the labels for this blog which began 2 years ago, you'll find a backlog of exercises, ideas and tips -- welcome!

Other avenues for publication is the tutor tip for the term, which brings us neatly to paragraph 1 above. At some point -- and I usually wait til half-way through a course -- you will probably want to stop and explain the world of publication to students. You can make a series of this, a real study looking at publishers' sites and catalogues etc, which adds the kind of market and media reality to creative writing that some institutions insist on these days.

I talk about that in the book, but the freebie tip is about encouraging students to enter competitions, explaining their variations and values. Value as a teaching/learning experience is deadlines, presentation and the experience of not winning (good practice in rejections) or maybe... winning!

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