Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Rev up to countdown

Half-term's almost over, one last run to go before it's all over for the year. You just have time to inspire your class to pull together work (or write new work) and publish a class booklet.

In fact, these days, you are probably remiss if you don't get your students exploring self-publication. Whether it is Smashwords, Lulu, Amazon, Kindle or whatever, anyone can e-publish these days. But will it be good? Get students, or perhaps small groups within the class (nothing like the competitive spirit) to decide on theme, content, length, format (just e? Print on Demand?)... or you set the theme/themes for them.

Even just asking students to browse the web and report (with print outs or screen show-n-tell) on poetry, flash fiction, fiction, memoir or whatever is a good practical exercise. If they don't rise to producing their own group collection at least this might inspire individuals eventually to go it alone.

Some other end-of-year ideas to be found under the label called that (see labels list at bottom). Strangely enough I like having a session on creating titles this time of year. Must be something about in our end is our beginning...

Monday, 6 January 2014

New creative term, new creative year

Ah, January, when we book -- or dream of -- holidays. But you are instead jumping into the next creative writing term. What a great excuse for looking through your postcards -- you do succumb to postcard temptation, don't you?

Travel Postcards, Surreal Postcards, Mythical, Animal... images are fantastic (I used that word purposely) stimulus. I have just put on the Matrix book website the how-to for using postcards/pictures in class exercises. It's a sneak-peek and free-for-you sampling with 4 subject categories and 3 methods with which to charm, bedazzle and encourage your students.

Treat your writers to a postcard exercise once a month -- that'll help you get through the term. The book, Creative Writing: the Matrix, has other tips on planning and running a course. Right here, this blog offers further exercises and support. See the post of 4 July 2011 where I listed particularly practical Labels like Exercises, Lesson Planning, Start of Term... or just go right to Labels and dip in.

I am now in re-revise stage of the epic docu-novel that is the story of the life of my great grand-father Ephraim M Epstein. It takes him from Belarus to Dakota Territory to the hills of West Virginia, through two marriages, ten children, careers as a missionary, a doctor, a university founder, a journalist, and back and forth between Judaism and Christianity. Because of this last my original title was Testing the Gods, but a recent discovery triggered a change of title to The Notorious Dr Epstein. Exciting! Last minute! Will it ever end? I am building a blog for him/it... but as all true writers know, I must first and foremost dedicate myself to finishing the book.

Still have some room to coach-buddy writers and creative writing tutors -- see column right. Meanwhile, treat yourself to an Artist's Date (thank you, Julia Cameron). Go out to a gallery or museum exhibition, then to its shop and indulge yourself in postcards that evoke a response in you.