If we were sharing a cup of coffee today, I’d tell, first of all, that the only reason I’m able to share this morning is because it is snowing too hard for me to get to church. I go to a church that is about 30 miles from my house, and right now the visibility is way too low to make a trip like that — especially with the roads rapidly being covered with snow and the temperatures dropping. I did go out and clean off my car (from the earlier morning snow), thinking it would let up, and I could go, but that didn’t work out at all.
Anyway, there’s not a whole lot to tell you about this week. I taught my “Writing Fiction” and my “Biblical Pathways to Health & Wholeness” classes. The students seem to be enjoying both classes, so that’s always a good thing.
Actually, I did have one student who complained a couple weeks ago because the Writing Fiction class didn’t give him “what he wanted.” He had taken that class from me a few terms ago, and complained then as well. He seems to think that since he wrote non–fiction for years that a lot of the writing basics we cover are way too elementary for him. The course description made it clear what we would cover, but that didn’t seem to register with him. Not only that, but a good deal of the things we’re covering are things he is not nearly as proficient in as he seems to think — as evidenced by the work he turned in for the assignments.
The first time he took the class he decided to drop it after about 4 weeks. Then when we offered it again this term, he suddenly e-mailed me to see if this class would offer something he could use. I told him clearly that I would be covering the same things I covered in the class he had dropped, which includes all the basic skills needed to write good fiction: developing good strong plots, developing believable characters and learning how to introduce them into the story in interesting ways, learning to use dialogue and body language well, learning how to develop and present setting, learning how to edit, and learning how to choose the best publishing options (along with several other helpful tips). Now, I ask you: what more could a student want from a Writing Fiction class???
But I suggested to him that since I would be covering all those same things, and he didn’t find them helpful a few terms earlier, I didn’t think he’d be interested in this class. But he enrolled anyway. He came to class long enough to be an aggravation and then dropped the class again. It turns out that what he’s looking for is some kind of writing theory and philosophy — whatever that is — and for what purpose, I can’t begin to figure out.
I told him that, in my opinion, teaching theory and philosophy did absolutely no good for the students who want to learn to write good stories that will entertain people and sell books. Theory and philosophy don’t help you plot a good story or create engaging, true-to-life characters, or help you jump through all the right hoops to get those stories published. I can honestly say I’m relieved he dropped the class. I hope he finds what he’s looking for.
Well, it looks as though I’ve taken our coffee time to vent. Hope you don’t mind. And, guess what: it has almost stopped snowing! Yay! I think I’m going to get a fresh cup of coffee and a cookie to celebrate.
Hope you have a great week. And if you’ve never taken part in the “Weekend Coffee Share,” visit Eclectic Ali , check out the easy instructions, and share about your week.