Intro To Creative Writing notes from Spring ’05

I was cleaning my desk up the other day and came across a sheaf of looseleaf. They are the notes I cared to keep after Intro to Creative Writing in Spring 2005.

Now, of course, I wish we’d had more intensive writing classes. Intro to Novels. Why Your Character Won’t Do As You Say 101. I wish Research Writing was about researching for novels.

But, anyway, because it’s always good to remember the basics:

Type 1- “tour guide”–slow, language is leisurely. Pro: accessible to reader

Type 2- “action Jackson”–immediately in a scene
                                    — author puts reader right into the setting
                                    — fast-paced
                                    Pro: exciting. Con: lack of information
Type 3- “fortune teller” ending is told upfront (climax)
                                 Something is a big deal
                                 rest of the story explains it
                                promising to deliver the goods

1st person-“I”
3rd person–“he, she”
2nd person–“You”


  • visual image
  • place-setting-get it over quickly-action and dialogue
  • 5 senses
  • Do research. Know your setting.
  • Don’t write in generalities. Use “telling details”
  • move along a story quickly 
  • In a room: two or three specific objects
Description of Place or Setting
1) Interior: “A person who owns an ice bucket and silver cocktail shaker is different from someone who owns a claw-footed tub.”
2) Exterior: “To know the rhythms, the textures, the feel of a place is to come to know more deeply and truly its people.”
Hemingway–9/10 of the character is underwater
What is motivating the character? What does he want? Conflict!
Frigidity-> sentimental, mannered prose-trying to impress your reader
sumation-secondary, flat characters, just one aspect
exposition-quick material
Symbols: objects that represent something that has a difficult meaning
Voice: personality of the narrator
Tone: attitude of the piece

Interior Thought
Direct-usually character’s language
Indirect-narrator’s language. Inside character’s head

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