Nontraditional student survives college fiction writing class


The other students in my community Spring 2013 college fiction writing class were all young enough to be my great grandchildren. Their stories hopped from young adult to fantasy, from first love to suspense, from intrigue to absurdity. Their imaginations escaped boundaries and shattered my established writing box halved with suspense and inspiration.

I spent a semester trailing creatures with red hair and purple eyes, or blue skin and purple hair. I trailed a futuristic creature, part cat, part female human, and some mysterious third part I never understood.  I traveled with witches in carts pulled by horses and rode spaceships that made Star Wars transports look like horse-and-buggy days. I time-traveled from ancient dynasties to futuristic civilizations and hovered over the centuries between—the only ones I understood. I encountered Samurai swords, galaxy battles, orbs, greed and dysfunctional families in every century.

I struggled through the required critique questions.

Q: What is the author’s intention?  A: To confuse this nontraditional student.

Q: Does the opening catch the reader’s attention? A: Blue skin and purple hair? You bet it does.

Q: Is the point of view consistent?  A: I can’t tell because the characters won’t lift their armor faceplate or space helmets so I can lip read.

Q: Does the conclusion agree with the author’s intention? A: Yes. The ending was as confusing as the rest of the story.

One question anticipated, but not required, at the end of the semester:

Q: Did you reach your person goal? A: Yes. This nontraditional student survived.



Filed under Nontraditional student, Reading, Writing

5 responses to “Nontraditional student survives college fiction writing class

  1. I’m surprised your professor allowed those genres. I’ve taken numerous writing courses in college. I’m currently at the University of Kansas, and there was a strict rule for literary fiction, which I thought, at first, was strange he defined that, but understood when he allowed one assignment to be whatever we want. Not to say I don’t enjoy fantasy (I have two novels published in fantasy; I love fantasy!) but in a writing course, it got very abstract when some new writers attempted it with only a few pages to write an entire story.

  2. You not only survived, I have a sneaking suspicion you loved every minute and taught those young students a thing or two along your way.

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