This is a fiction-writing syllabus with lesson plans, worksheets and activities that you can use for your own teaching. You can use all the lessons in order, or select individual creative writing lessons to incorporate into your own course plan.
If your students are at an age and level where they can handle a workshop format, you might combine these lessons with carefully managed group critiques. However, I would recommend against using workshops with children or new beginners.
All of the reading assignments for this course are from the short story collection A Relative Stranger by Charles Baxter.
Lecture material: Creating Characters Your Readers Will Care About
Group activity: Create a character together as a class. To start off the discussion, have a student pick a name at random from the phone book. Ask students what they think someone with this name would look like. How old would the person be? What would be the person's occupation? Use the CWN creative writing worksheets for character profiles to continue developing the character. Start students thinking about how character profiles can lead to story ideas -- ask them: What problems does this character have? What does this character want more than anything else? What obstacles might be in the way of this character's desire? What situation might cause the character to react in an interesting way?
Homework: Students write their own character profiles and read "Westland" by Charles Baxter to prepare for the next class.
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