Author Archives: sdgibson

Poems as dialogue

From David Starkey’s excellent Creative Writing, Read published poems . . . and respond to them with poems of your own. It doesn’t matter whether you respond to the subject of the other person’s poem or just a single line … Continue reading

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Poems as letters

From David Starkey’s excellent Creative Writing, Write a poem in the form of a letter. Richard Hugo’s book 31 Letters and 13 Dreams is a great source for these types of poems. Hugo addresses poems to close old friends and to … Continue reading

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2250 Five poems

Consider these five poems. We will talk about them in more detail during class.

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Toward a synopsis

Answer each of the following questions. Use just one sentence in each answer. How did your protagonist get involved in the story? What conflict arises to move the novella forward? What is the broad setting of your novella? What is … Continue reading

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4420 “Gimme a Map, Please”

From Elizabeth George’s Write Away, a brief consideration of plots.

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Relationships and characterization

Interview at least two other characters about the main character: How well do they know him or her? What do they know about him or her that he or she does not know about themselves? Do they think of the … Continue reading

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Fiction writing techniques in a scene

Consider this excerpt from a scene in Ben Winters’s excellent The Last Policeman. After reading it, answer the following questions: What methods of characterization are used? (Can you list five?) Describe the merits of the dialogue. How does the plot begin … Continue reading

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4420 “Designing Suspense,” “Modulation,” and “Home Improvement”

From Benjamin Percy’s outstanding collection of essays, Thrill Me, here are “Designing Suspense” and “Modulation.” Read them carefully. We will talk about them in class. In addition, here is “Home Improvement.”

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Found poem

Let’s workshop this poem together before we look at each other’s work.   Snow came down February 15th feeling bad I’d slept on the couch the night before and suddenly the next morning cold was thick on the ground, white, heavy … Continue reading

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2250 Fiction criteria 2.0

Give a general reaction to what you’ve read. Which scenes are interesting? Why? Is there a character that wants something? How do you know? What action does the character take to get what they want? Describe one of the characters … Continue reading

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