Week 1: Creative Writing: A Technical Approach

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This is the powerpoint for week 1 of the U. Reddit course "Creative Writing: A Technical Approach." In this installment is an introduction to the course and a lesson on brainstorming and drafting.

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  • 1. Creative Writing: A Technical Approach
    A course by Marshal D. Carper
    with special thanks to Alan Natali

2. About Me
Four books with Victory Belt Publishing.
Editor-in-Chief of Lockflow.com.
Over 600 articles published through Lockflow.com, Ultimate MMA Magazine, Fight! Magazine, and the Escapist.
Wrote character dialogue for the Black Sigil, a Nintendo DS game.
Contact: mcarper@gmail.com or Facebook. Also willing to Skype.
Property of Marshal D. Carper (marshaldcarper.com)
3. Class Structure
Week 1: Brainstorming and Drafting
Week 2: Perspective, Organization, and Missed Opportunities
Week 3: Developing Scenes
Week 4: Openings and Closings
Week 5: Active Voice versus Passive Voice
Week 6: Sentence Structure
Week 7: Adjectives and Adverbs
Week 8: Grammar and Usage
Property of Marshal D. Carper (marshaldcarper.com)
4. Big to Small
The Revision Process
Macro
Micro
Surface Errors
Word Choice
Sentence Structure
Organization
General Plot
Property of Marshal D. Carper (marshaldcarper.com)
5. Revision is a Philosophy
The bulk of the writing process should occur in revision.
Your first draftand your second and your thirdis a stepping stone, not a commitment.
I believe more in the scissors than I do in the pencil. Truman Capote
Property of Marshal D. Carper (marshaldcarper.com)
6. Creativity
Creativity can be learned.
Imagination is about possibilities.
Immersing yourself in other peoples creativity helps.
Good writers borrow.Great writers steal.
Property of Marshal D. Carper (marshaldcarper.com)
7. Brainstorming
Where do ideas come from?
Good writers are curious people.
You could draw inspiration from books, magazines, short stories, newspapers, movies, music, personal experiences, dreams, other peoples lives, fantasies, mythology, folklore, personal interests, current events, historythe whole of human existence is fair game and then some.
Property of Marshal D. Carper (marshaldcarper.com)
8. Conflicts
Man versus Man
Watchmen
In Cold Blood
Man versus Nature
Into Thin Air
Old Man and the Sea
Man versus Himself
Fight Club
Property of Marshal D. Carper (marshaldcarper.com)
9. Training Wheels
Transplant your character into a new, unfamiliar setting or situation.
Example: Lost in Translation
Take something away from your character and force him or her to cope.
Example: The Great Gatsby
Conflicts stemming from love, fear, and betrayal are good places to start.
Example: Hamlet
What if?
Property of Marshal D. Carper (marshaldcarper.com)
10. Prewriting
For nonfiction, an outline based on your research notes is important.
For fiction, an outline is not mandatory.*
If you use an outline it does not have to be your English teachers outline.
You do not have to use Roman numerals and bullet points.
Developing an outline after you write your first draft is sometimes more useful.
Property of Marshal D. Carper (marshaldcarper.com)
11. Any Start is a Good Start
The blank page is your greatest enemy.
Do not fret over micro level concernssentence structure, word choice, surface errorswhen you have not yet conquered the macro level.
Eliminate distractions; get away from your computer.
Write from start to finish without stopping or looking back.Skip to the next scene if you get stuck.
Property of Marshal D. Carper (marshaldcarper.com)
12. Assignments
Draft a Story
Handwrite from start to finish.Then type it up.
Do not go back and rewrite or fix anything, including mistakes.Move forward with a free writing mindset.
If you feel that you are in a corner, scribble in a dash, start a new paragraph, and skip to a new scene.
Length is not important.What is important: your story must have a beginning and an end.
Required Reading
The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell
Next week, we will be analyzing and discussing the organization and perspective used in The Most Dangerous Game.
We will also talk about identifying and exploring missed opportunities in your story.
Reading link: http://fiction.eserver.org/short/the_most_dangerous_game.html
Property of Marshal D. Carper (marshaldcarper.com)