What I am writing: a writing journal

Over the last few days I have been focusing on expanding a journal I am writing for one of the units in my Master of Arts in Creative Writing Course.

This journal is for the Creative Writing: Prose unit. In this unit we have a set text book called Writing Fiction by Australian writer Garry Disher. Most weeks we have a chapter to read which links to the topic of the lecture. We also have a unit reader consisting of short stories gathered together by our lecturer Rosanne Hawke. We are expected to read one or two of the stories each week. We then discuss the techniques used by the writers of the stories. In our journals we are expected to  respond to the text book and the stories, commenting on how useful we found each one.

Each week we also have writing activities in the workshop part of the lecture time. This is a very valuable exercise because we have to write on a set topic or theme or a set activity and it is under the pressure of time, usually no more than ten minutes. We are then expected to share these short pieces in a workshop situation. The feedback from the lecturer and fellow students is often very valuable. We are expected to include some of these writings in our journal, commenting upon the activity and including any second drafts if done.

While this journal may not appear to be actually writing fiction as the unit title suggests, it is still a very valuable assignment. It has forced me to consider each element of the lecture and the writing activities, and analyse how useful each one has been. One of the interesting things about some of the writing exercises is that I now have a resource of more than a dozen (I haven’t bothered to count them)  short stories which can be developed from 100 – 150 words into longer stories of 2000 words or more. They are great short story starters.  All I need now is the time to do that! With seven essays and assignments due in the next 25 days it will be heads down getting everything finished and submitted.

Good writing.


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