Syllabus for Teaching Creative Writing - Lesson 4: Showing Versus Telling (Continued)

This is the fourth lesson plan from the CWN syllabus for teaching creative writing, which includes creative writing activities and exercises that you can use in your own classroom. (To go to the first lesson, click here).

The reading assignments in this syllabus are all stories from A Relative Stranger by Charles Baxter.

Creative writing syllabus - 4: Showing versus telling (continued).

Reading: Charles Baxter, "Scissors."

In-class activity: Students work in pairs. They exchange the writing they did based on their homework from the previous class. Each student answers the following questions about her partner's writing, then shares her answers with the partner:

  • What is the character's secret fear?
  • What else does the student know about this character?
  • What is the student curious about? If the student's partner decided to continue writing about the same character, what kind of story would she be interested in reading ?

Discussion topic: In "Scissors", what clues early on tell us that Louise and Harold have more than a barber-client relationship? What more can the students guess about the past relationship of these two characters? What clues do they find in the story?

In-class activity: 10-minute writing about one of the short story topics on this story prompts page. Students should focus on showing instead of telling.

Homework: Students read "Shelter" by Charles Baxter and develop their in-class writing assignment at home.

See more lesson plans from the fiction writing syllabus:

Go to the next lesson of this course (topic: plot structure).

Go to a complete list of lessons in this course.


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