Here chronicles my first day of class:
Young Adult Science Fiction
Was pretty much what I expected from a first class. Went over the syllabus, talked broadly about the topic of science fiction (its definition and its roots). Will have to write a 2500-4000 word research paper, and I personally started brainstorming topic ideas.
- Comparing Neal Shusterman's Unwind to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
- Games in Literature (Ender's Game, Interstellar Pig, Jumanji, Harry Potter)
- YA dystopian literature as a metaphor for adult's view of a dark future with a hopeful ending
I'm guessing games in literature has probably been done before, so that's probably not the most original topic idea. I'd prefer to write about something that hasn't been done before. It means less research reading, and I like the opportunity to have original ideas.
Forms and Boundaries
This was probably the class I was most excited about. The book list is very contemporary and interesting, which made me hopeful. The professor also has a good reputation.
Post Class: Still think this class will be awesome. Essentially, we're going to be examining HOW an author wrote what they wrote. Breaking down form and structure. Reading as a writer. We'll also be looking at how authors broke the rules of their genre. I thought I would grow a lot by taking this class and I definitely think I will.
The class held my attention the whole time because there was stuff for us to DO. She brought samples for us to analyze the form. Learned some new words. The teacher also slips in and out of silly accents as she's speaking.
We have to do one presentation on something we want to do in our own writing, find an author who does it well, and break down how they do it in their writing. Very worthwhile assignment.
We also have to do two short critical papers that are forms analyses. However, she said the first one would not be graded because she said she didn't think it was fair to grade us on this type of analysis right off the bat since we haven't done it before. Very fair.
Since I'm taking this as a creative course, I also have to do two creative assignments where I practice writing in one of the forms we are studying. But she just wants it to be a rough attempt, not a masterpiece. Again, fair.
The forms we are studying are: Picture Book, Poetry, Collage/Scrapbook, Graphic Novel, YA
So while this class will be a lot of work and stretching me, I also think she's being very reasonable in her demands.
The teacher of this course isn't a regular member of the faculty, so I didn't really know what to expect. The verdict: I am pleasantly surprised.
The reason I use the word surprised is I was a little wary of signing up for a class on writing fantasy. It is a genre I enjoy reading, but I wouldn't classify myself as a high fantasy writer. More like I just enjoy throwing in made-up stuff, not creating whole new fantastic worlds. I was wary because I thought perhaps it would be too much fantasy for me.
But the teacher is very knowledgeable about the craft of writing, has a well laid out plan for how the coursework will be organized, and I agree with a lot of her viewpoints on writing already.
Our first assignment is to write a rough draft of a short story inspired by the fairy tale "Goose Girl." I have a rough idea already, but it was hard for me initially because I have read Shannon Hale's book Goose Girl which is a retelling of the same fairy tale. So while the teacher was trying to pick an obscure fairy tale that would leave us with lots of questions, I felt like I already knew the story in depth from Shannon Hale's lovely version.
We will be doing a ton of critiquing in this class. Each of us will be writing two short stories and we will be critiquing 4 works per class period, and there's twelve of us. I'm not a math person, but in 6 weeks, that sounds like a lot of critiquing!
Well, nine hours of class today kind of wore me out, and I have assignments, reading, and conference prep to look forward to. Let's just say my iCal is looking pretty packed! I think I need some tea.