creative writing styles

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Creative writing styles dissertation binding nottingham

Creative writing styles

When you write something that is not from who you are, it can confuse your reader. This is because it will be difficult to sustain your voice as a writer. As a result they may not want to read more of your work. When you writes from within, the reader is able to see parts of who you are as a person and can get to know you better.

I read a book a while back on business growth. It was a good book and I learnt a lot from it. As a result I then followed the author and starting reading her other books. Shortly after this she changed styles. This author jumped on that trend and began swearing through all her books.

One of her books had so many swear words in it that her book would have been several pages shorter if she had left them out. This writer delighted in telling her readers that this particular book had only taken her four hours to write. It felt forced and more as if she created it to make money rather than give to the reader. It felt a bit sad because she had some good information to share but appeared to lose sight of who she was as a writer. When you write from who you are you will not need to change your style part way through.

Find your own style of writing and own it! Writing as part of who you are should come to you naturally and not feel weird or be a huge struggle. If you find that writing in general is difficult it could be for several reasons:. If you have created a proper writing habit and you are stuck, try getting inspiration. This could mean reading other forms of writing to refresh you or taking a break from writing. A half hour walk while you listen to music may be all it takes to put you back on track.

If you are still struggling, then chances are, you are not writing in a style that is congruent to who you are. As you can tell I love to use a conversational writing style when I put pen to paper. For me it feels like I am able to share my thoughts and feelings with someone like I would if they were sitting next to me. When you write, choose a style that allows you to express yourself. That may be in expressing yourself through creative writing , allowing the poet in you to come alive or sharing your life experiences in a helpful how-to form.

Whatever it is, it should leave you feeling like you have shared what you want to. You should feel energized and excited about your work, not drained and struggling to create more. Once you have found your style the only other thing you can do is write, write, and keep writing. The more you write, the easier it will come to you and the better you will become at expressing yourself through your words.

You have a gift to write and you need to use it to share your message with the world. Today plan your daily habit of reading and writing and watch your life grow and move you to the next level of your writing career. Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a comission if you click through to make a purchase. Around the demands of her kids, she is usually training for half marathons, creating content for her blogs, writing her next book or chilling out on the lounge with a slab of chocolate and a good book.

We help you save time, money, and headaches through the book, writing, marketing, and publishing process by giving you the proven, step-by-step process and accountability to publish successfully. All while allowing you to maintain control of your book—and its royalties. Learn to publish a book to grow your impact, income, or business!

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:. FREE Training. Book Outline Template. Author Help Center. Skip to content Tweet. Pin 2. Writing styles as authors can differ from person to person. Textbooks Recipes How-tos Instructions. Technical writing Business writing Scientific writing. Understanding how each of these categories contributes to each type of writing will help you teach students to express themselves more proficiently, as well as reach higher levels of proficiency on state and national tests.

Here are the five most common types of writing styles, a quick exploration of each and some new strategies for teaching them. As the above definition indicates, there are a number of elements required in good narrative writing. To weave together a compelling story, students must choose:. A main character with a minimum number of well-defined personality traits. Side characters, if the length and complexity of the story allows for instance, a narrative capstone project might have secondary characters.

A setting or multiple settings in which the story takes place. A particular structure — the style in which they will tell their story — with the various narrative elements represented: dialogue, description, action. Vocabulary words, depending on your desires and requirements as a teacher. Teaching students to weave all of these elements together will take time, which is why each lesson should cover no more than one of the above.

As students check off each item, they can incorporate it with the ones above. Eventually, the result will be a well-fleshed-out story they can be proud to share with the class and their family. This ability requires first identifying and then dissecting the subject at hand, after which the student can offer an argument about its meaning and merit.

It assesses your ability to articulate and support complex ideas, construct and evaluate arguments, and sustain a focused and coherent discussion. It does not assess specific content knowledge. While one might assume that postgraduates taking entrance exams are at a significantly different learning point than middle schoolers which they are , the similarities between the skills needed then and needed in 7th grade are nearly identical.

In fact, having those skills in later life is largely dependent on middle school teachers developing them now. Note, however, that analytical writing is not pure explanation or description as we will encounter in the next writing style. Analytical writing requires developing a thesis that supports their main claim, backing it up with proof from the text, and concluding with a summary that wraps the two together. It is also helpful to give examples of analytical theses, such as:.

Mockingjays from The Hunger Games are symbols of freedom, because they are genetically engineered species that have broken free from the Capitol, just as Katniss has. The main theme of To Build a Fire is that nature is merciless and unforgiving. Help students understand that while the analysis can be opinion-based, students do need to back up everything they say with passages from the reading. Expository writing, as the title suggests, is predicated on exposition, or the description and explanation of a particular idea.

Topics cover pretty much the entire gamut of human experience, from inventions to nature, emotions to politics, family to hobbies and more. Teachers can challenge students to pick their own subjects or can give them categories from which to choose or assign specific subjects.

Each of these options helps develop a different skill set in kids. There exist a number of good ways to develop expository writing skills, suggests The New York Times. That means placing primary emphasis not on an introduction, three-body exposition and conclusion, but rather on what the piece calls for. Encourage students to take as many paragraphs as they need to express their idea well, and to be creative in their intros and conclusions.

How can you introduce your piece other than giving away that newsworthy element upfront? How can you conclude it without simply rehashing the above information? What techniques can you use to vary sentence structure and make for a more interesting read? How can you incorporate supporting material in an engaging way?

While some of the techniques may feel a little advanced at first, almost all of them can be broken down into simple directions that middle school students can make use of. Note that there are two main components of persuasive writing: logic and emotional appeal. Logic comes first in persuasive writing. In order to have any chance of convincing people, students have to develop a sound premise.

That means choosing a topic and backing it up with good logic. Give them examples, such as: Everyone should keep their cats indoors, because there are many dangers to cats outside. They can then expand on these dangers coyotes, racoons, rabies to convince people. Help students understand that this topic should have an opposing stance. Persuading people relies heavily on reaching them emotionally. For this reason, students should choose a topic or stance about which they feel passionate.

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I learn this over and over again with my students and it never ceases to amaze me. It only adds to the awe. For more information about Janet, visit her website: www. The publishing industry is changing. There is a broader definition now of what storytelling looks like, and who storytellers are.

But change is coming painfully slowly, and it needs to be changed from all fronts, including accepting that there are different, beautiful, engaging ways to tell a story than we have previously seen on our shelves, in our classrooms, and in our workshops. The traditional workshop model worked for those whose stories were traditionally acceptable, stories that often perpetuated bias and cut out many voices. I work to educate myself about storytelling from different cultures.

I actively seek new ways to create workshops that embrace different story styles and push the individual creator forward. I love the low-residency model of the Creative Writing program because I can individualize instruction for each mentee. It is, I hope, a way to break new ground while also cracking open something for each writer. The goal is to find stories that only you can tell, and the format that best serves the story, and then focusing on the craft that illuminates both.

It is tough, careful work, and my favorite thing about teaching. Learn more about Tracey Baptise on her website. Erin is a poet and writer whose work focuses on gender, love, and history. At the same time, I'll be asking all the hard questions of the script. No doubt, my main focus will be on character, for the core of all drama is "character in action.

I have been teaching playwriting since and screenwriting since My total love for theatre and movies and TV too as well as the history of these genres, drives my instruction. I'm always intrigued at the seemingly infinite number of ways people want to tell a visual story. Just when I thought I'd seen it all, some student will come to a class, or send me an assignment, that will test the boundaries of everything I thought I knew about writing for the Stage and Screen.

And that's when the fun begins. As I read something I'm working on, I'll often stop and think "I'd never accept this from a student," shake my head, hit the "delete" button, and try it again. It all pays off when I'm sitting in a theatre, or a classroom, and watching or listening to a student's work being read or performed.

I remember the piece's various drafts. I marvel when something I told the student wouldn't work does work after all. I can feel the attention being paid to the spoken word. And I can't imagine doing anything else. Creative nonfiction is a wonderfully open genre, which also possesses ongoing questions of its own: What are the responsibilities of writing from one's life? How might a writer best negotiate the complex relationship between truth and memory?

There may be no definitive answers to these questions, but I think that any writer who is serious about the genre must live with their complexities. As much as an apprenticeship in nonfiction involves grappling with these questions, no less essential is a thorough attention to craft - shape and syntax, image and metaphor, voice and structure. I believe students gain their greatest understanding of craft by learning to read as a writer, and that exploring the literary tradition - nonfiction, fiction, and poetry — as well as contemporary works is essential to a writer's education.

The one-on-one structure of a low-residency program is ideal in that it allows for both the support and the solitude essential to developing one's voice. I value most of all the way it allows me, as an advisor, to tailor the work and reading to the needs of each individual student. Learn more about Jane at her website, www. Can creativity be taught? When I took modern dance lessons as a child, we spent the first half of each class practicing technique craft.

Then we took a break, lay on the floor, and closed our eyes. Music played softly in the background, and our teacher began to tell a story about a snowflake falling, a caterpillar, a woman planting corn. When we wanted to, we got up and danced how we felt - and of course when we did, we used the techniques we'd been practicing. I believe craft and creativity are inseparable.

I teach craft. Then I do everything I can to encourage creativity. My special interests in poetry include translation, point of view, the free verse line, traditional forms, form in free verse, the invention of free verse, poetry and painting, poetry and science. I teach creative writing as the art that it is. I'm interested in how poetic traditions of all sort live inside our own work. Recently, a student asked me for "sharp rules" and was gravely disappointed when I told her I didn't know any.

Every piece of writing— picture book, chapter book, or YA novel - is a world unto itself, idiosyncratic, difficult, maybe even impossible, to fathom fully. My job, as I see it, is to act as a reliable witness for the less experienced writer as she brings that world and its residents, whoever they might be, to the page. But to make something from nothing is a mysterious , often frustrating, endeavor. In the inventive stages especially, both teacher and student must be vigilant, open to change, and hopefully good-humored.

If you are a sourpuss, I probably am not the right guy for you. Later, when revising and revising, and revising resilience is the quality I look for in both the writer and her work. Throughout our time together, I try not to pretend that I have answers I don't , but work to ask those questions intended to help the student find her own. My teaching philosophy is constantly evolving My basic goal is to provide my students with the tools to teach themselves.

Some of these tools have to do with how we gain access to the creative, inspired, subconscious sides of ourselves; others have to do with our critical faculties. The writing workshops are particularly useful to help people learn to become their own best editors through editing the work of others. Beyond that, I'm strongly interested in questions of how we live in, engage with, and observe the world. I teach a seminar on the art of observation or "seeing like a writer.

My aim is to encourage my students to move their own work to its highest level, not to write like me or according to some prerequisite standard of what makes a good story. There are always a variety of styles and approaches to writing in my workshop, and I'm delighted when someone "goes too far. My philosophies regarding the teaching of writing are these: that the gateway to the unconscious must be opened, through habit and practice, in the production of creative material, or the writing cannot succeed.

As a mentor, I ask students to describe the actual process that goes on in the writing of a story or novel , and specifically how the story or novel idea came to be, how it germinated. Often stories succeed or fail when they are conceived in the rational part of the mind, or when the rational mind is too soon engaged. I encourage students to risk themselves in their work, to be bold, for only in the act of risk can there be growth. The two years in an MFA program is in and of itself a permission slip, perhaps the one time they've been afforded to place writing in the center of their lives, and therefore students should use this time to try as many different styles as possible.

In this way it is also important that they be exposed to many different types of writing, both contemporary and from the canon. In this way they are exposed to the many ways other writers approach the craft. What matters, I always tell students, is what has been gained in the process of taking risks. As a teacher and a professional artist, I believe that perseverance beats talent, and success comes from elbow grease, not genius.

I evaluate my students by the effort and enthusiasm they bring to their assignments as well as their openness to feedback and critique because it is those qualities that will matter the most in their professional lives. Learning is a collaboration between student and teacher, each willing to put aside their own biases and assumptions in favor of openness and honesty.

My goal as a teacher is to help emerging artists find their voice and hone their creative instincts, which means listening as well as talking and following as well as leading. Telling stories, day in and day out, is challenging. While it is important to learn the craft of storytelling it is also essential to build the discipline and habits that will ensure productivity outside the classroom. A successful student will leave my classroom not only with the knowledge and skills necessary to take a story from initial spark to a finished book but with the initiative and desire to continue learning and honing their expertise throughout their professional lives.

My teaching philosophy? Number one: figure out what my students are really trying to accomplish in their writing, including all the intellectual and emotional undercurrents. Number two: help them find a way to get there - or, closer anyway. Of course, that simple formula is never quite so simple; it takes time to understand what is getting in their way.

The need to improve skills like pacing or narrative distance is obvious. But does this student give herself enough room to think things through? Can another combine his easy wit with depth so his characters have enough dimension to live the story he has imagined for them?

Are they ready to dig deeper? I hope so because the next part of my job is to challenge my students to go past what is easy, congratulate their accomplishments, then continue to push - all the while, standing alongside ready to help. In poetry, more than in any other type of writing, language drives meaning. By focusing on the small elements of craft: line, syntax and line break, image and metaphor, sound and diction, I believe the poet finds a way to discover and inform the large elements: inspiration, intention, concept, invention, and communication.

I engage each poem—and student—on their own terms, taking them as far and deep as possible, while challenging the student to examine their assumptions about what a poem can do. My students have published books and chapbooks as well as poems in journals. Good writing makes us our most honest selves, and as a faculty mentor I'm fundamentally committed to coaching students as they work to set down the truth - whether it takes the form of fiction or nonfiction. When I work with a student, my most important job is to notice everything I can about that student's writing.

Because the best way I know to understand writing is through detail - what Ryszard Kapuscinski called "the universe in the raindrop" - I focus on very close readings of student manuscripts. I try to read not only the story that's on the page, but also the story that might only be hinted at, because the writer hasn't yet dared write it. Sometimes this kind of reading leads us to focus together on what initially seemed only a faint tracery on the page - but might in fact be the barely audible heartbeat of the story that the writer truly needs to tell.

My students know I'd rather they take risks and fail than write safe stories that leave no mark on either reader or writer. I congratulate my students on attempting each big leap, even if they fall hard - that sort of failure is productive, necessary, catalyzing. I write fiction and nonfiction and have edited radio drama, but I learn a great deal from other genres and art forms, and I encourage my students to do the same - to attend playwriting workshops, read craft books written for sculptors.

Art should always be surprising, and I want my students to surprise themselves; to raise the bar again and again; to be delighted by their own and others' contributions to the fledgling writing community that is a workshop. I believe in taking a student's writing more seriously than he or she may have dared take it I tend to focus intensely on character development, as so much of a story's structure and plot grow out of character I have a particular interest in the ways in which history and politics are metabolized through art.

That said, I try to leaven seriousness with humor, with compassion, and with the sense that good writing is absolutely essential, though producing it can feel like pulling one's soul through a sieve. If we do this work well together, then the heartbeat of a story, perhaps only faintly audible in the first draft, strengthens.

These are the best moments. A student revises and I critique, the student revises and revises again My most valuable teaching tool is the work itself, whether it's a piece of student writing, or the published work of a seasoned author. I'm interested in how and why a piece of fiction engages the reader, and I ask my students to consider what elements make a story and lead them to feel a certain way. I ask them where the engagement is happening on the page, and what dynamic is taking place between the reader and the words.

This search is often where the student, transferring this consideration to his own work, discovers what his story is really about. This exploration, if we take a risk and allow it to, will lead the writer to discover the truth in and about his own writing. I stress revision as the time when a piece of work finds its form and meaning, and when all the elements of fiction we talk about in seminars and workshops and submissions come together to serve the story. Revision - that process of chipping away, fine-tuning, and rethinking - is also about looking at the language and considering the cadence and the music of the writing.

It's during revision that we feel ourselves itching to leave the work and run away, but it's those drops of sweat, that racing heart, that lets us know we're about to get to the true and genuine stuff. I love teaching in Lesley's program and find my students enormously inspiring. Learn more about Hester at her website, www. Michelle Mikki Knudsen is the New York Times best-selling author of 49 books for young readers, including board books, picture books, early readers, and middle grade and young adult novels.

Her best-known book to date is the award-winning picture book Library Lion , which has been translated into fourteen languages, is currently being performed as a musical in Israel, South Africa, and the UK, and was selected by Time Magazine as one of the Best Children's Books of All Time. Forthcoming publications include an early-chapter-book biography and a new picture book.

Michelle lives in Brooklyn, NY. To walk a fictional mile in someone else's fictional shoes, first you have to make that pair of shoes; it helps to know something about cobbling. After many years in the footwear trade, as it were, I'm happy to share with students anything I've learned about uppers and soles or even, on a good day, maybe, souls. If it's true, as Saul Bellow said, that writers are readers moved to emulation, then surely teachers are students moved by a similar compulsion. Not a day goes by I don't think of some teacher, and still I cannot recall with confidence a single thing that even my best instructors taught me, except, perhaps, how to be in the world.

Maybe that was the greatest service they performed. The most affecting teachers became models for a kind of process - this process of being an artist or scholar - that strange, beguiling process of becoming oneself.

The most gifted teachers were persistence and passion come to life, teaching an extension of their devotion as they paid the bills. The distinction wasn't lost on us: our finest instructors might want to teach, but they needed to do their science or philosophy. We sniffed for this authenticity - it's what we gossiped about - certain classrooms like sources of light.

And on my best days, I find no way to separate my life as a student from my life as a writer from my life as a teacher. I'm not sure one can teach anyone how to write, but I believe one can show someone how to love to write. I preach generosity and clarity, because I struggle to find such qualities in my own work. I want my students to bring out the best in me, just as I need them to coax what's best from their writing. Having worked with quite a few editors over the past twenty years, I feel my strongest work as a teacher is when I bring the best of those experiences to my students.

The most energizing exchanges always came when I realized a great editor was in fact pouring her energy into channelling me, rather than battling me. I believe new writers come to us wanting to sound like their best selves, I believe they are right to feel this way, and I believe it is my duty to help them achieve this.

We may sometimes have to debate what that best self might actually be, but that too is part of the fun. In workshop there is one horse I feel is never too dead to beat: our objective is to get the writer back to the keyboard. All feedback does not need to be cheerleading but it does need to be designed to leave the writer with the ideas - and the will - to go back and make the work stronger.

I do not have a teaching philosophy. Maybe empathy. But that's not philosophy. As a mentor I try to intuit what's in the minds and hearts of the writers I work with, hoping to help sharpen their philosophy, their thoughts, their words, and their meaning, so that they can achieve whatever special literary goal they have set for themselves.

In the end, if I do have to define a philosophy of teaching, or the technique I use to buttress that philosophy, then simply, it is to use my experience as a writer in guiding and assisting my students along their journey to fulfill their imagination. In the early drafts, I'm mostly interested in helping you see what is at the heart of the story. Who is this character, what does he or she want, and why do you, the writer, see him or her in that particular place doing that particular thing?

I try to get you to understand the elements of the story that interest you the most - the characters, the place and the time setting, the images that started you thinking about the story in the first place, the one sentence that seemed right and important from the beginning - in order to sort out what is essential and what is not. My job is to help you figure out which things you started out with are worth keeping and developing, and just as importantly to encourage you to be utterly ruthless about throwing out the rest.

In the middle stages, I try to help you with the overall structure of the narrative: where to begin, what to explain right away, what to reveal more gradually along the way, how much to leave open-ended. This is a good time to consider and reconsider what is plausible and what is not, what is confusing to the reader and what is so clear that it doesn't need to be explained, where the story happens too fast and where it bogs down. With every subsequent draft, more attention can be paid to each paragraph, each sentence, each word.

The final revision in which we get to scrutinize every word is a real pleasure and reward. I enjoy teaching because I like to see the story come into focus over time; it's both a pleasure and an honor to be part of that process. Learn more about Kyoko at her website: www. As a teacher, I guide my student writers to search for the beating heart in their work, to critique with care, to rewrite using the pen as a scalpel, and to read and reread all the plays and screenplays they can get their hands on.

I believe in re-inventing plot through language, form and format in order to find the best narrative trajectory for stories to succeed. Pamela views the mentoring relationship in both as a dialogue rather than a traditional teaching experience. The usual advice is to write what you know. I say, write what you are familiar with, not what you know.

Only writing affords me access to that place of understanding inside me. And I see my job at Lesley University as helping students find their way to that place inside themselves. Learn more about Pam on her website and connect with her on Instagram petropamela.

What attracts me to poetry particularly is not merely the way it compresses or asserts meaning, but the way a poem can hold multiple, often conflicting, meanings. The poems I admire are frequently born out of ambivalence—out of strong feelings or beliefs in conflicting directions.

These poems ask difficult, vital human questions, but their object is not necessarily to answer these questions. They are, in fact, often unanswerable. Instead, they think about them with purpose and complexity, helping us reformulate them for ourselves. Although Kevin loves to talk about the technical aspects of poetry writing—rhyme, meter, image, tone—Kevin generally approaches drafts of student poems with these 3 questions:.

Connect with Kevin through his website. My philosophy is to have a good time getting to know the characters in the stories. Let's all ask the questions, the hard ones, the funny ones, the ridiculous ones, to make sure the characters are breathing. Then, once they are alive, we can be better informed of the development of the plot.

Also, I believe in positive reinforcement. I refuse to edit without highlighting strengths. My job is to serve as sort of a literary "personal trainer. I'm going to tell you how proud I am, and how I can finally see the abs coming in. And then, we're going to hit the weights and work our butts off, pushing you to the limit for the desired goal — a perfectly chiseled story.

At its core, teaching is a partnership it's just you and me. I have a passion for storytelling - whether it's on the stage or on the screen, and my favorite thing to do is to talk about the infinite varieties of story. As a teacher I consider it my calling to open doors, not to close them. Sometimes we writers are not sure what we're writing about or even why we're writing it; we're simply trying to get something out onto the page so we can understand it and then shape it in a meaningful way.

And sometimes our intellects get in the way of our instincts - especially in the first drafts. I try to listen to the play's instincts most of all - sometimes they are smarter than we are. And I ask a lot of questions. Answers are not so helpful in the long run - they're an easy fix, but questions are helpful. Questions open doors to solutions. Finally, I want you to come away knowing your strengths and weaknesses so you can continue to grow in the "real" world. Therefore, I revere so-called "failure.

I hate to mention the dreaded word "process," but writing is one, and once we understand this, we retain power over our writing. And we should all be so very powerful. If my first job is to ensure that students discover, value and cultivate that individual perspective, my second - and perhaps more important - job is to give them the tools to bring forth a work of art.

My teaching passion involves revision. When I first began to write, I was completely daunted by my heroically obtained but completely unsatisfactory drafts. I went, as I do always, in search of references to instruct me, and found nothing I could really use on revision.

This challenged me. I have spent all my teaching energies of the last fifteen years coming up with a strategy for communicating revision. My work as a teacher is all about answering this critical question: What do you do now that you have a good draft? How do you move a draft from "done", to beautiful? I teach a method of revision that has been page-tested by my students. These stories do not need to be an hour by hour account of every little thing that happens.

Show your children how to pick out interesting snapshots or conversations, lessons, co-op discussions, interactions with siblings, funny moments, mishaps while on the road, etc. A handful of scenes should be sufficient for a nice balanced look at your homeschool day.

Weekend days count, too. There are a variety of ways you can incorporate a day in the life story into your creative writing lessons. Here are some ideas to get you started. Writing about a single day is easiest. Your child can write about today or she can hand pick a specific day such as "the best day ever ", a birthday, a holiday celebration, or a CrAzY day. Your child can even create a fictional character and write about a day in the character's life.

You can download a story starter template for this type of creative writing, or you can create your own. Writing an ongoing day in the life story is much like keeping a diary. You can encourage your writer to write shorter entries every day or longer entries several days a week for a specific time period or for as long as there is interest.

Let two writers be better than one—siblings make excellent co-writers. Writers can alternate paragraphs, times of day, or even perspectives on the goings on in your homeschool. Sometimes a sibling's idea can inspire his co-writer to think of something new to add, to spur him to go off in a completly new direction, or to add a little pizazz to his own style of writing. Also, pairing a stronger writer with a reluctant or an unenthusiastic writer, can act as a teachable moment between siblings.

Do you have more than two ready, willing and able writers? Go with it! Any writing activity that sparks interest is a great writing activity for your homeschool. An easy way to distinguish between writers is to let each one choose a different color pencil or pen. Did your writer really enjoy this activity? Did she really shine?

Keep the writing momentum going by letting her write multiple stories. Maybe she'd love to write one each week. Maybe more. The more the merrier, especially if she shows interest or feels like this is her niche. Do you have a creative child? Then, maybe an ordinary day in the life story is just plain boring for him. So, let your creative writer add a little dramatic flair to his story:. Have your children written a day in the life story?

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Each of these writing styles is used for a specific purpose. A single text may include more than one writing style. Expository writing is one of the most common types of writing. When an author writes in an expository style, all they are trying to do is explain a concept, imparting information from themselves to a wider audience.

Descriptive writing is often found in fiction, though it can make an appearance in nonfiction as well for example, memoirs, first-hand accounts of events, or travel guides. When an author writes in a descriptive style, they are painting a picture in words of a person, place, or thing for their audience. But the author is not trying to convince the audience of anything or explain the scene — merely describe things as they are. Persuasive writing is the main style of writing you will use in academic papers.

My teaching philosophy? Number one: figure out what my students are really trying to accomplish in their writing, including all the intellectual and emotional undercurrents. Number two: help them find a way to get there - or, closer anyway. Of course, that simple formula is never quite so simple; it takes time to understand what is getting in their way. The need to improve skills like pacing or narrative distance is obvious.

But does this student give herself enough room to think things through? Can another combine his easy wit with depth so his characters have enough dimension to live the story he has imagined for them? Are they ready to dig deeper?

I hope so because the next part of my job is to challenge my students to go past what is easy, congratulate their accomplishments, then continue to push - all the while, standing alongside ready to help. In poetry, more than in any other type of writing, language drives meaning.

By focusing on the small elements of craft: line, syntax and line break, image and metaphor, sound and diction, I believe the poet finds a way to discover and inform the large elements: inspiration, intention, concept, invention, and communication. I engage each poem—and student—on their own terms, taking them as far and deep as possible, while challenging the student to examine their assumptions about what a poem can do. My students have published books and chapbooks as well as poems in journals.

Good writing makes us our most honest selves, and as a faculty mentor I'm fundamentally committed to coaching students as they work to set down the truth - whether it takes the form of fiction or nonfiction. When I work with a student, my most important job is to notice everything I can about that student's writing. Because the best way I know to understand writing is through detail - what Ryszard Kapuscinski called "the universe in the raindrop" - I focus on very close readings of student manuscripts.

I try to read not only the story that's on the page, but also the story that might only be hinted at, because the writer hasn't yet dared write it. Sometimes this kind of reading leads us to focus together on what initially seemed only a faint tracery on the page - but might in fact be the barely audible heartbeat of the story that the writer truly needs to tell. My students know I'd rather they take risks and fail than write safe stories that leave no mark on either reader or writer.

I congratulate my students on attempting each big leap, even if they fall hard - that sort of failure is productive, necessary, catalyzing. I write fiction and nonfiction and have edited radio drama, but I learn a great deal from other genres and art forms, and I encourage my students to do the same - to attend playwriting workshops, read craft books written for sculptors.

Art should always be surprising, and I want my students to surprise themselves; to raise the bar again and again; to be delighted by their own and others' contributions to the fledgling writing community that is a workshop. I believe in taking a student's writing more seriously than he or she may have dared take it I tend to focus intensely on character development, as so much of a story's structure and plot grow out of character I have a particular interest in the ways in which history and politics are metabolized through art.

That said, I try to leaven seriousness with humor, with compassion, and with the sense that good writing is absolutely essential, though producing it can feel like pulling one's soul through a sieve. If we do this work well together, then the heartbeat of a story, perhaps only faintly audible in the first draft, strengthens. These are the best moments. A student revises and I critique, the student revises and revises again My most valuable teaching tool is the work itself, whether it's a piece of student writing, or the published work of a seasoned author.

I'm interested in how and why a piece of fiction engages the reader, and I ask my students to consider what elements make a story and lead them to feel a certain way. I ask them where the engagement is happening on the page, and what dynamic is taking place between the reader and the words. This search is often where the student, transferring this consideration to his own work, discovers what his story is really about.

This exploration, if we take a risk and allow it to, will lead the writer to discover the truth in and about his own writing. I stress revision as the time when a piece of work finds its form and meaning, and when all the elements of fiction we talk about in seminars and workshops and submissions come together to serve the story.

Revision - that process of chipping away, fine-tuning, and rethinking - is also about looking at the language and considering the cadence and the music of the writing. It's during revision that we feel ourselves itching to leave the work and run away, but it's those drops of sweat, that racing heart, that lets us know we're about to get to the true and genuine stuff.

I love teaching in Lesley's program and find my students enormously inspiring. Learn more about Hester at her website, www. Michelle Mikki Knudsen is the New York Times best-selling author of 49 books for young readers, including board books, picture books, early readers, and middle grade and young adult novels.

Her best-known book to date is the award-winning picture book Library Lion , which has been translated into fourteen languages, is currently being performed as a musical in Israel, South Africa, and the UK, and was selected by Time Magazine as one of the Best Children's Books of All Time. Forthcoming publications include an early-chapter-book biography and a new picture book.

Michelle lives in Brooklyn, NY. To walk a fictional mile in someone else's fictional shoes, first you have to make that pair of shoes; it helps to know something about cobbling. After many years in the footwear trade, as it were, I'm happy to share with students anything I've learned about uppers and soles or even, on a good day, maybe, souls.

If it's true, as Saul Bellow said, that writers are readers moved to emulation, then surely teachers are students moved by a similar compulsion. Not a day goes by I don't think of some teacher, and still I cannot recall with confidence a single thing that even my best instructors taught me, except, perhaps, how to be in the world.

Maybe that was the greatest service they performed. The most affecting teachers became models for a kind of process - this process of being an artist or scholar - that strange, beguiling process of becoming oneself. The most gifted teachers were persistence and passion come to life, teaching an extension of their devotion as they paid the bills. The distinction wasn't lost on us: our finest instructors might want to teach, but they needed to do their science or philosophy.

We sniffed for this authenticity - it's what we gossiped about - certain classrooms like sources of light. And on my best days, I find no way to separate my life as a student from my life as a writer from my life as a teacher. I'm not sure one can teach anyone how to write, but I believe one can show someone how to love to write.

I preach generosity and clarity, because I struggle to find such qualities in my own work. I want my students to bring out the best in me, just as I need them to coax what's best from their writing. Having worked with quite a few editors over the past twenty years, I feel my strongest work as a teacher is when I bring the best of those experiences to my students.

The most energizing exchanges always came when I realized a great editor was in fact pouring her energy into channelling me, rather than battling me. I believe new writers come to us wanting to sound like their best selves, I believe they are right to feel this way, and I believe it is my duty to help them achieve this. We may sometimes have to debate what that best self might actually be, but that too is part of the fun.

In workshop there is one horse I feel is never too dead to beat: our objective is to get the writer back to the keyboard. All feedback does not need to be cheerleading but it does need to be designed to leave the writer with the ideas - and the will - to go back and make the work stronger. I do not have a teaching philosophy. Maybe empathy. But that's not philosophy. As a mentor I try to intuit what's in the minds and hearts of the writers I work with, hoping to help sharpen their philosophy, their thoughts, their words, and their meaning, so that they can achieve whatever special literary goal they have set for themselves.

In the end, if I do have to define a philosophy of teaching, or the technique I use to buttress that philosophy, then simply, it is to use my experience as a writer in guiding and assisting my students along their journey to fulfill their imagination.

In the early drafts, I'm mostly interested in helping you see what is at the heart of the story. Who is this character, what does he or she want, and why do you, the writer, see him or her in that particular place doing that particular thing? I try to get you to understand the elements of the story that interest you the most - the characters, the place and the time setting, the images that started you thinking about the story in the first place, the one sentence that seemed right and important from the beginning - in order to sort out what is essential and what is not.

My job is to help you figure out which things you started out with are worth keeping and developing, and just as importantly to encourage you to be utterly ruthless about throwing out the rest. In the middle stages, I try to help you with the overall structure of the narrative: where to begin, what to explain right away, what to reveal more gradually along the way, how much to leave open-ended.

This is a good time to consider and reconsider what is plausible and what is not, what is confusing to the reader and what is so clear that it doesn't need to be explained, where the story happens too fast and where it bogs down. With every subsequent draft, more attention can be paid to each paragraph, each sentence, each word.

The final revision in which we get to scrutinize every word is a real pleasure and reward. I enjoy teaching because I like to see the story come into focus over time; it's both a pleasure and an honor to be part of that process. Learn more about Kyoko at her website: www. As a teacher, I guide my student writers to search for the beating heart in their work, to critique with care, to rewrite using the pen as a scalpel, and to read and reread all the plays and screenplays they can get their hands on.

I believe in re-inventing plot through language, form and format in order to find the best narrative trajectory for stories to succeed. Pamela views the mentoring relationship in both as a dialogue rather than a traditional teaching experience. The usual advice is to write what you know. I say, write what you are familiar with, not what you know. Only writing affords me access to that place of understanding inside me. And I see my job at Lesley University as helping students find their way to that place inside themselves.

Learn more about Pam on her website and connect with her on Instagram petropamela. What attracts me to poetry particularly is not merely the way it compresses or asserts meaning, but the way a poem can hold multiple, often conflicting, meanings. The poems I admire are frequently born out of ambivalence—out of strong feelings or beliefs in conflicting directions. These poems ask difficult, vital human questions, but their object is not necessarily to answer these questions.

They are, in fact, often unanswerable. Instead, they think about them with purpose and complexity, helping us reformulate them for ourselves. Although Kevin loves to talk about the technical aspects of poetry writing—rhyme, meter, image, tone—Kevin generally approaches drafts of student poems with these 3 questions:. Connect with Kevin through his website.

My philosophy is to have a good time getting to know the characters in the stories. Let's all ask the questions, the hard ones, the funny ones, the ridiculous ones, to make sure the characters are breathing. Then, once they are alive, we can be better informed of the development of the plot. Also, I believe in positive reinforcement.

I refuse to edit without highlighting strengths. My job is to serve as sort of a literary "personal trainer. I'm going to tell you how proud I am, and how I can finally see the abs coming in. And then, we're going to hit the weights and work our butts off, pushing you to the limit for the desired goal — a perfectly chiseled story. At its core, teaching is a partnership it's just you and me. I have a passion for storytelling - whether it's on the stage or on the screen, and my favorite thing to do is to talk about the infinite varieties of story.

As a teacher I consider it my calling to open doors, not to close them. Sometimes we writers are not sure what we're writing about or even why we're writing it; we're simply trying to get something out onto the page so we can understand it and then shape it in a meaningful way. And sometimes our intellects get in the way of our instincts - especially in the first drafts. I try to listen to the play's instincts most of all - sometimes they are smarter than we are.

And I ask a lot of questions. Answers are not so helpful in the long run - they're an easy fix, but questions are helpful. Questions open doors to solutions. Finally, I want you to come away knowing your strengths and weaknesses so you can continue to grow in the "real" world. Therefore, I revere so-called "failure. I hate to mention the dreaded word "process," but writing is one, and once we understand this, we retain power over our writing. And we should all be so very powerful.

If my first job is to ensure that students discover, value and cultivate that individual perspective, my second - and perhaps more important - job is to give them the tools to bring forth a work of art. My teaching passion involves revision. When I first began to write, I was completely daunted by my heroically obtained but completely unsatisfactory drafts. I went, as I do always, in search of references to instruct me, and found nothing I could really use on revision.

This challenged me. I have spent all my teaching energies of the last fifteen years coming up with a strategy for communicating revision. My work as a teacher is all about answering this critical question: What do you do now that you have a good draft?

How do you move a draft from "done", to beautiful? I teach a method of revision that has been page-tested by my students. Beginning with defining the hot center, or the passion source, of each manuscript, and radiating out, we refine everything down to where you place your commas and periods. I teach students to revise with acuity, and I teach students to consider and reconsider every word they choose to use. Once you know what you're doing revision is the revelator.

Watching a manuscript begin to glisten from the muck of an early draft is like finding an emerald in the mud. Other forms of financial aid are also available. Review all graduate tuition and fees , and what they cover. Tuition and fees are subject to change each year, effective June 1.

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Threshold Program Two-year, campus-based learning for students with diverse learning challenges. Graduate School of Education. Type to search. Creative Writing. Request More Info. Nurture your writing to its fullest potential. Request more information Email Address Submit. Graduate Program Inquiry Form. Independent work under the mentorship of faculty member. Two nine-day residencies per year in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and an additional exit residency.

January and June. Come to the residencies in January and June 5 residencies. Complete 12 credits between each residency. Earn 1 credit in your final residency. Complete the program in 2 years. View Program of Study. January Residency Changes. Verdelle Distinguished Visiting Writers As you progress through the program, you'll have the opportunity to work with experienced fiction writers to hone your craft. Writing for Stage and Screen. Writing for Young People. Accomplished Faculty You'll work closely with faculty who have substantial experience writing for children and young adults, including: Tracey Baptiste David Elliott Susan Goodman Michelle Knudsen Chris Lynch Jason Reynolds Distinguished Visiting Writers As you progress through the program, you'll connect with visiting writers who have published a variety of books for young people.

Recent visitors have included: M. Anderson Elizabeth Bluemle Robie H. Read more. Working as a social worker inspires her stories and lets her "give a voice to others. Read more about Aqueela Culbreath-Britt. Listen to our podcast interview with Axie Oh. Other scholarships, grants, assistantships, and loans may also be available to help you finance your graduate education.

Learn more about scholarships and financial aid. Read more about Katie Cotugno. Women, History, and The Weight of Ink with Rachel Kadish The acclaimed author discusses her novel—a literary page-turner about two women living centuries apart. Listen to Rachel Kadish's podcast episode.

Virtual Bookstore With the transition of the January Residency to virtual format, we have put together a virtual bookstore. See the Virtual Bookstore here. Writing books for kids who don't read books Best-selling author and Newbury Award honoree Jason Reynolds writes novels that are unfailingly compelling, compassionate, and timely with diverse characters.

Listen to Jason Reynolds' podcast episode. Residencies in Cambridge, MA. Christine Bess Jones '16 brings poetry to wider audiences through her project "poems2go. Read more about Christine Bess Jones. Boston has been named on the top 10 best U.

Read more about The 10 best US cities for creative workers. Alumni Satisfaction. Ranked According to a survey published in Forbes, Lesley ranks 20 nationwide for providing a high-quality education that is worth the cost. View the survey results. Visit us. We'd love to show you around. Learn more about graduate visit opportunities. Read more about Eagan-Donovan's event. Tracey Baptiste. Read more about Tracey Baptiste. Read more about Leland Cheuk. Listen to Sara Levine's podcast episode.

Read more about Sara Farizan. Cassie M. Seinuk is a playwright and author of From the Deep. What Graduates Achieve. Our alumni are accomplished authors, poets, screenwriters, and playwrights with books from major publishers, individual works in prestigious journals, plays staged by prominent theater companies, films featured in international festivals, and more. They have received numerous literary awards and fellowships.