Three Steps of Critique
We started class today by going over our objectives when critiquing another writer's work. I have no doubt this group will develop into a great circle of literary critics -- they just need a little practice!
Each week we will have three to four writers share their work at the beginning of class. If you don't share one week, you will automatically share the following week. You can read the story you wrote that week, or choose another that you haven't had a chance to share yet. We'll also take turns sharing our in-class writing, as well.
Remember, in critiquing another's work, we:
Plot Structure and Narrative Viewpoint
Next we reviewed plot structure and narrative conflict. Many students are probably familiar with these concepts but I provided them with a handout which they can use in crafting their future short stories. We took our invented characters from last week and gave them a major challenge to overcome. After writing for only a few minutes, the students came up with some great challenges for their characters. I appreciate how each student uses our in-class writing time -- some write easily and without hesitation, others take a few moments to gather their thoughts. Both approaches have merit and I encourage each individual to continue to utilize the one that works best for him or her. Our in-class writing time is meant to provide an extra challenge -- thinking creatively "on our feet" so to speak!
Then we moved on to talk about narrative viewpoint and discussed the advantages and disadvantages of writing in the first person vs. the third person narrative. We wrapped up class by starting another short story prompt. This time the task was to present the same story from two different viewpoints. Students can continue this story at home, or the earlier prompt involving their invented characters. Additionally, I gave everyone four more prompts -- two that focus on plot structure and two that focus on narrative viewpoint.