[austechwriter] The pitfalls of creative writing classes

  • From: "Alan Magill" <amagill@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <austechwriter@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2003 23:41:21 +1000

>   Remember the book "Men are from Mars,
>   Women are from Venus"? Well, here's a prime example offered by an
>   English professor at an American University.
>   ____________________________________________________________________
>   "Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story.
>   The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person
>   sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write
>   the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the
>   paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first
>   person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth.
>   to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the
>   coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking and anything you wish

> to say must be written on the paper. The story is over when both agree

> a conclusion has been reached."
>   > > >
>   The following was actually turned in by two of my English students:
>   Rebecca-last name deleted, and Gary - last name deleted.
>   -------------------------------------------------------------
>   > > >STORY:
>   (first paragraph by Rebecca)
>   At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted.
>   The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at
>   home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier
>   times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all
>   costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, 
> and
>   she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up
>   again. So chamomile was out of the question.
>   > > >
>   ------------------------------------------------------
>   (second paragraph by Gary)
>   Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack
>   squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to
>   think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named
>   Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago.
>   "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic 
> communicator.
>   "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But
>   before he could sign off, a bluish particle beam flashed out of
>   and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt
>   from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the 
> cockpit.
>   > > >----------------------------------------------------------
>   (Rebecca)
>   He bumped his head and died almost immediately but not before he
>   felt one last pang of regret for psychically
>   brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon
>   afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the
>   peaceful farmers of Skylon 4.
>   "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel,"
>   Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously
>   excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of
>   her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with
>   no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense
>   of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why
>   must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered
>   wistfully.
>   > > >---------------------------------------------------------
>   (Gary)
>   Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live.
>   Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership
>   launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dim-witted
>   wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament
>   Treaty through the congress had left Earth a defenseless target for
>   hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race.

> Within
>   two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were
>   on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the
>   planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their
>   diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere 
> unimpeded.
>   The President,in his top-secret Mobile submarine headquarters on the
>   ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably
>   massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid, Laurie and 85
>   million other Americans.The President slammed his fist on the
>   table. "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's 
> blow
>   out of the sky!"
>   > > >----------------------------------------------------------
>   (rebecca)
>   This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature.
>   My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate
>   adolescent.
>   > > >----------------------------------------------------------
>   (gary)
>   Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose
>   attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of
>   Valium. "Oh shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other
>   sort of F*CKING TEA???
>   Oh no, I'm such an air headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle
>   Steele novels."
>   > > >----------------------------------------------------------
>   (rebecca)
>   Asshole.
>   > > >----------------------------------------------------------
>   (gary)
>   Bitch.
>   > > >----------------------------------------------------------
>   (rebecca)
>   Wanker.
>   > > >----------------------------------------------------------
>   (gary)
>   slut.
>   > > >---------------------------------------------------------
>   (rebecca)
>   Get f*cked.
>   > > >----------------------------------------------------------
>   (gary)
>   Eat sh*t.
>   > > >--------------------------------------------------------
>   (rebecca)
>   > > >----------------------------------------------------------
>   (gary)
>   Go drink some tea - whore.
>   > > > **********************************************
>   (teacher)
>   A+ - I really liked this one.

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