Tag Archives: classes

Keeping My Head Above Water

So, I am approximately three weeks into school and it is already taking a toll on me. I have to do so much reading constantly and there is so much analysis in that reading that I need to do. I am glad to say I am continuing to get good grades and am keeping my head above water, but it is hard and what sucks is that it never ends. I had plans of revising my story and getting it off to my Beta-Readers by the end of the month and that may be pushed back a little bit but I am definitely going to try and keep to the schedule since I know many people are anticipating the sequel to the story.

Here is my class schedule:

Special Education 205 = A have to read a chapter or two in the book every week. This one typically gets pushed to the back burner because the class is meant for Freshman and the teacher isn’t too hard so I’m not too worried about this course.

English 460 (Major Authors) = This is a course all about Herman Melville. Luckily there isn’t much to this class as far as homework goes and the dates the homework need to be done by. All of it (besides a research paper) need to be done by Spring Break though, so I have approximately a month and a half to finish the homework for that class. But, there is constant reading and discussing of the works of Herman Melville which isn’t the most exciting of authors.

English 369 (Multicultural Drama of the United States) = I have to read and analyze a new play every week in this class. On top of it every three weeks there is another analysis due that compares previous plays with a theory. Luckily my teacher likes me in this class.

English 405 (Shakespeare) = I have the same teacher for this class as I do above. But, just as in the other class I have a new Shakespeare play to read every week. Shakespeare is definitely not the easiest thing to read and when you have to understand and analyze it to, your head starts to throb. With these discussion courses, it is all about participation so I make sure that I come prepared with at least one idea per class.

Education as a Second Language 311 (Linguistics) = The professor here is teaching the class for the first time. This makes this class quite the joke and he makes things much more complicated than they need to be. Not only is it in the morning (so I find myself snoozing because linguistics isn’t the most exciting thing in the world), but the tasks he assigns are tedious. There is only one assignment per week and the chapters are small and easy to get through so I am thankful there.

English 310 (Young Adult Authors) = This is definitely one of the most interesting courses I will ever take. My teacher loves science-ficiton and fantasy and so she is always curious about how my book is doing (she happens to be my adviser and the head of the English Department). Score! However, there is one huge downfall in this class. I need to read a new book EVERY SINGLE WEEK. We will go through 10 throughout the course of the semester and these are full length novels. On top of all the reading I need to do, this is the biggest timesucker I have ever had. As far as homework goes, though, I have not received any besides to read the stories and come prepared to discuss and since it’s a discussion class a lot of my grade rests on participation.

So, there you all have it. My schedule and what I am going through with this 18 credit semester. Right now I am a week ahead of schedule and I am hoping to keep one week ahead of schedule but it will be no easy task. I have found that planning in my calendar for what I am to accomplish each night of the week has really started to help me manage it. For example, I have been consistently reading four to five chapters of Melville along with maybe 75 – 100 pages of my modern books per night in order to not have it all pile up over the weekends. Honestly, I am surprised I still get a workout in. But, alas, I cannot do as much writing or reading on social media as I want to. Hopefully I’ll get some time this weekend to do some writing and revisions in my story. I want the story to continue!

But, if you do not see me post as often as I want to, it’s because of my extensive reading. Actually, I guess because I read so much now, I can start writing reviews of these books for some of my posts. Perhaps I’ll do that! Until next time!!! Hopefully I won’t drown in the pages of text I need to read.

What can be Improved Upon in English College Courses (Part 2)

So, in the first part of this topic I discussed why teachers shouldn’t really be limiting the writing ability of creative writing students. Here is another topic that I feel needs to get addressed while we are critiquing the English college curriculum.

Alright, so it has been argued that many people go to college just to get the degree, but that it really doesn’t prepare you for the real world. I guess, in some ways that’s true, but I definitely think it gives you the opportunity to prepare for that real world through the offering of internships and through a good college curriculum. As far as us Creative Writers go, how does college prepare us? The question I always received when people knew I was a creative writing major is “What are you going to do with that?” And it’s true, what do many people do with a creative writing degree? Well, there is always publishing poetry, short stories, or maybe even that novel. However, therein lies the problem with the education, it revolves around publishing. I was very lucky in many regards that I started taking my writing seriously at a high school level. When people asked me the question above I would respond with, “Well, I’m going to get my novel published. I already have it written.” People were so impressed by that and many of my fraternity brothers said I was “10,000 steps ahead of other Creative Writing majors.” And, I probably was, but anyone can do that, they just need to put the time in to get that done. But, getting to my point, my experience in publishing has caused me to look upon the college curriculum with a new perspective.

I think that in the English Education system at the college level there should be an offered class that teaches the people in the major all the ins and outs publishing. There is so much to learn! I honestly did so much research in order to publish my book and I still feel like I’m running around with my head cut off. What this class would do is talk about every aspect of publishing: book specs, trim size, to-dos, Independent Book Publishing Association, Publisher’s Weekly. There is so much info that you could put into a class. In fact, you could probably have two classes, one a beginning class going through the basics of what all is publishing and your different types of publishing options: vanity presses, indie presses, POD, or traditional publishing. And then you could have another course, a more advanced one that has a project of actually getting a work published by the end of the class. You would utilize your previous course knowledge and then implement it with querying your stories out, building your press kits, etc. Or, you could have a “virtual” simulation or a project where you put together your business plan, a marketing plan, and a timeline of implementation just so that when you do decide to take that step and publish something later on in life you have a blue print, you have done it before, and you’ve been pretty much “taken by the hand” throughout the whole process.

With this kind of info at least at their fingertips I think it’d encourage many more students to really get out there and write! Writing isn’t about jamming out a novel in a day, it’s about persistence. It took 6 years for me to get my first novel to where I want it to be. Although these courses will not help the motivation factor, it will definitely help benefit them with just a deeper knowledge of the publishing industry. I feel as though this would benefit many many English students who don’t really know how to take that next step into utilizing that English major that they acquired. Or, even if they didn’t want to publish something, they can take this knowledge to try to get jobs at publishing companies and have a job that directly relates to their major (which is something hard to find for many students nowadays like I said before).

 

If any of you reading this are pursuing something in the English Major what do you think about including some elective publishing classes? What other ideas can you think of that would help other English majors feel more prepared after college? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts!