Teaching

Learning to write is a lifelong process. There’s always some part of the craft you can be improving. For me, the quest to get better led to my reviewing books and participating in workshops… and now, I am teaching online courses through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.

Working with new writers is something I am passionate about–it’s exciting, fun, and a constant challenge. Some of my students are literally finishing their first stories, while others are putting the final touches on polished, professional-caliber novels. I’ve seen students take rough drafts, shine them up and sell them. Helping people pursue their writing dreams is something I enjoy immensely.

As part of my teaching practice, I sometimes blog about the craft of writing, generating mini-lectures and other resources that my students can refer to as needed. Some of these include:

Teaching writing is like… the car metaphor essay.
And because one car metaphor deserves another, the spark plugs of fiction.
Qualities of prose: a list of things I look for when I’m judging the line-by-line writing in a manuscript.
Eye Bookisms: Being a technical article on the overuse of eye-related imagery and action.
Revision, from Macro to Micro. This is a tech writers’ technique that can work nicely on fiction.
Not all drafts are created equal: a few thoughts on qualitative grading.

My courses reflect my belief that nobody writes perfect first drafts. I emphasize finishing drafts… and then getting them critiqued and revised. I also assign a marketing plan in almost every course, for those writers who are already looking to find an audience. Though my primary focus is on the creative side of the equation, each class gives students a glimpse into the commercial side of writing, too.

I occasionally accept students with promising novel-length projects for intensive, one-on-one mentoring. Openings for mentoring come up once or twice a year; contact me directly at alyx@sff.net to ask about my availability and submission process.

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