This is the ninth creative writing lesson plan in our fiction writing syllabus. To go to the first lesson in this creative writing syllabus, click here. These lessons include ideas and creative writing exercises and activities you can use in your own classroom.
If your students are old enough and confident enough in their writing to handle a workshop format, you might decide to combine these lessons with carefully managed group critiques.
All of the reading assignments in this syllabus are from the short fiction collection A Relative Stranger by Charles Baxter.
Creative Writing Lesson Plan - 9: Specific detail.
Lecture material: Control Your Reader's Imagination with Powerful Descriptions
Reading: Charles Baxter, "Fenstad's Mother."
Discussion focus: In the story "Fenstad's Mother," a homeless woman approaches Fenstad's mother in a restaurant. Look at the description of the homeless woman. What are some of the details that tell you she's homeless? In pairs, students make a list of adjectives that are used to describe this woman, and then a list of nouns that help the reader see her more clearly, such as her items of clothing.
In-class activity: 10-minute writing about one of the topics on this story starters page.
Homework: This homework is preparation for the upcoming class about writing dialogue. If possible, students should get permission to record a conversation; for example, at their dinner-table (many cell phones include a recording function). Otherwise, they should just listen carefully to conversations taking place around them. All students should transcribe, verbatim, at least a half-page of recorded or overheard conversation.
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