I’m going to blog one more time about teaching creative writing, and then I’m done, since I sound bitter and disillusioned about the whole thing. Which I am. I just don’t want to beat a dead horse. I love horses.
I met a lot of creative people during my three years of teaching, with some notable exceptions. One of which was a very disturbed individual whose story was basically a torture scene in which the main character slices all the limbs off his victim and reattaches them to the opposite sides.
Difficult to read for so many reasons: 1) I have a weak stomach for that sort of ‘fiction’. I try to keep an open mind when reading students’ work. Even though I don’t read horror stories, fantasy stories or vampire stories, I can still appreciate good writing and compelling plots. I actually read Misery by Stephen King, and enjoyed it. Believe me, there was nothing ‘King-like’ in this story.
2) There were so many grammatical errors and syntax issues it wasn’t a story so much as the ramblings of a sadist.
3) I used to be a nurse, and I took issue with the lack of medical knowledge on the part of the writer. A victim whose leg is being sawed off would not be able to speak in coherent sentences. He’d be unconscious from major blood loss. Also, you would not be able to stop the bleeding of a femoral artery by simply cauterizing the wound. You would need clamps, suction, sutures and probably an OR nurse (or two) assisting you. This student’s sloppy research, on top of his obvious psychological problems, made me lose a little sleep.
When the kid mentioned his story was based on real life events, I called security, who had a little chat with him. He admitted to being off his meds for a while, but was feeling much better.
Then there was the girl who handed in the story of a vampire named Edward who falls in love with a young girl named Bella.
I get the whole fan fiction thing. I really do. But I had asked the class for an ‘original’ story. When I suggested that she write an original story rather than rehashing someone else’s work, she got lippy, stopped attending class and I never saw her again. Begging the obvious question: Why are you taking this class?
Which led to the next question: Why am I teaching this class? Why aren’t I writing my next novel?
That class heralded the beginning of the end of my teaching career. I don't think anybody was sorry to see me go. The feeling was mutual.