High School

1302 North Street
Olympia, WA 98501
Phone: (360) 596-7000
Attendance: (360) 596-7003
Fax: (360) 596-7001

Welcome to Creative Writing and Poetry


Second Semester

Week of January 30-February 3

Monday:Share your feedback from finals with your group members and other classmates. Read your feedback. Submit one of your pieces from first semester to the literary magazine. (Share a googledoc to "Olyliterarymagazine@gmail.com"

Tuesday: Read Billy Collins' "Introduction to Poetry." Then read four poems of Mrs. Gilman's choosing and take notes on them and discuss them in your groups.

Wednesday: Socratic Seminar-style discussion on the four poems from Tuesday.

Thursday: Write a poem inspired by one of the four poems we read this week.

Friday: More writing!


January 2017


Creative Writing Notebook: January

  1. 5 ideas for a short story (1/3)
  2. Wild Mind Writing. 2 “long sentences” hopes and dreads. (1/6)
  3. Notes on compelling stories. 8 tips with examples from your writing for each. (1/9)
  4. Feedback on the beginning of your short story: A question about your own writing for your group and positive, specific feedback to each (at least 2) group members. (1/11)
  5. Feedback: Something positive, then remark on three things from the notes on compelling stories. (1/17)


Week of January 17-20

Writer's notebook due on Friday. This week we alternate giving feedback and working on the story for finals.

Week of January 9-13: Writing a compelling short story.

Monday: Take notes on 8 writing tips "Writing a Compelling Story: 8 Tips"

Tuesday: Read an example of a short story by a student ("Waterboy") and discuss what the writer did well and whether or not she made the story "compelling."

Wednesday: Begin writing. Then share in groups and give feedback.

Feedback example using "Waterboy:

Question: What do you think about the intrusion of the narrator into the story? Does it work or is it confusing or distracting. 

Positive, specific feedback: I like the paragraph about what it means to be a spectator. I like the word choice of “spectator.” It makes it sound really neutral and makes it clear that those who watch a fight or watch someone get bullied are motivated by the need to be entertained. It implies that bullying is something that disrupts the monotony of school and implies that’s why people watch rather than trying to stop it.

Push yourself to develop your feedback into a way that can be useful for your group members. I am looking for you to be specific and thorough when I grade your notebooks. This is practice for finals!

Thursday: Continue working on short story.

Friday: Wild Mind Writing!

Week of January 3-6: Poetry Out Loud.


Vignettes: You should have three vignettes in your Creative Writing folder on Googledocs. You also need to include a paragraph that you revise for intentional use of fragements and identify one of your vignettes as polished and ready to be assessed for quality.


Nachowrimo! Write 20,000 words this month and reflect on the process and where you are as a writer - what are you good at? What skills need more development?

Week of October 31-November 4


Please take the Short Story Feedback survey: https://goo.gl/forms/2HwvVU7JOM74tzE03


Week of October 24-28

Work on your short story this week. Short story is due 10/31. Read about dialogue/narration/description, tension, moving images/images. Be sure your story is in line with the "your story needs" document we created in class. This document is in your "shared with me" on Googledrive.

Week of October 17-21

Monday - Tuesday: "Write what you know" story - outline three possible stories inspired by your 4 categories and/or 10 secret worlds. Each outline needs the following:

  1. A main character.
  2. A “need” internal conflict. What does your character want?
  3. Obstacles. This is more conflict.
  4. Setting.
  5. Another character – someone your character will interact with – there needs to be a dialog between your character and another character.
  6. Climax  - a turning point.
  7. Resolution. An outcome, an ending to your story. *do not kill your main character. 

After outlining 3 ideas, choose your favorite and write a story!

Wednesday -Thursday: Notecard story. Practice leaps and write 12 short sections to create a story. Write each scene on a notecard - you are limited to the space on the notecard.

Friday: Wild Mind Writing! Dialog - write conversations between two people, going down the page (a new line every time you switch speakers.)

What's in the Writer's Notebook: October

10/7: Wild Mind Writing: Short (He never...) Chaining (Her father always told her...) Long - write a whole story in a sentence (Once upon a time or It was a dark and stormy night.)

10/11: Characterization activity. Write several sentences for at least 6 of the characterization prompts. Include a name and age for your character. 

10/12: Write ideas for a story that is primarily dialog between your character and another character.

10/17: Write three outlines of possible stories based on your 4 categories and/or 10 secret worlds. Each outline needs to have all seven parts (see below.)

10/19: List of 12 items for the notecard story.

10/21: Wild Mind Writing - Dialog. 1. Write an argument between a parent and teenager, or a teacher and student, or a teenager and a younger child, or create your own argument situation. 2. Dialog with a start line, "That isn't mine." 3. Partner dialog with the start line, "What happened to you?" 



Week of October 10-13

Monday, October 10

Hello Writers! I am really sorry to be missing your first day of fiction writing. My daughter has a fever. I have a challenge for you - write a complete story, beginning to end, in this one class period. Your story won't be long, but try to make it complete. Set up a conflict, create a climax (turning point) and resolve the story. It doesn't have to be good. It just has to be complete. If you need an idea to get you started, try these links below. But quickly move from these fun websites into writing your story. I can't wait to hear them tomorrow!

First line generator: http://writingexercises.co.uk/firstlinegenerator.php

Conflict generator: http://storytoolz.com/generator/conflict

10 story ideas: http://letswriteashortstory.com/short-story-ideas/

Flash fiction prompts: https://nancystohlman.com/2013/02/19/30-flash-fiction-prompts/

Tuesday: Create a character for a short story using prompts in class. The iceberg theory - the writer needs to see the whole iceberg, while the reader can only see the top of the iceberg above water. You need to know everything about your character and choose what to share with your reader through your short story.

Wednesday: Read the short story "Marzipan" which is mainly dialog, then think of a situation for your character that would create a story featuring dialog.

Thursday: Write the dialog story. 

Week of October 3-7:

Read these two examples of creative nonfiction to define quality:

Quality Creative Nonfiction Essay Examples


Four Principles of Creative Writing Class:

  1. People learn to write by writing. In order to become a writer, you must write regularly. We will be writing in class every day. Be prepared to write for at least twenty minutes during each class period. You will also need to spend time writing at home for homework.
  2. Writing is a process. No piece of writing is perfect in its first draft. Throughout the semester you will have the opportunity to choose pieces to revise. All major assignments must be he result of multiple drafts.
  3. Writing and reading are related. In order to develop your writing craft, its important to read published authors. We will be reading short pieces of fiction and creative nonfiction in class for modeling and consideration of author’s craft. Out of class readings of your choice will be required every four weeks and will be assessed through a conversation with your teacher about author’s craft.
  4. Writing benefits from talking. As with most English classes, Creative Writing will include a significant amount of in-class discussion. We will discuss both the model readings and student work. Be willing to participate daily and avoid dominating in either small group or whole class discussions.


Creative Writing Goals:

Write a lot. Keep writing.

Write in a way that engages the reader. Show.

Revisit and rework your writing.

Share your work.


October 3-7

Monday: Notebooks checked. Finish "Things I've Lost" paragraph. Work on Creative Nonfiction Essay

Tuesday: Notebooks checked. Grading criteria for nonfiction essay. Work on essay.

Wednesday: Work on essay.

Thursday: Final day to work on essay or begin fiction

Friday: Wild Mind Writing! Essay due.


September 26-30

Monday and Tuesday: Work on research-based non-fiction.

Wednesday: Read Brian Arundel's "The Things I've Lost." Blending abstract and concrete. List things you've lost or found.

Thursday: Mimic Arundel's essay. Blending abstract, concrete and allusions. The assignment we're doing in class has been shared to your Creative Writing folder on Drive.

Friday: Wild Mind Writing

September 19-23 Creative Nonfiction - Working on memoir essay

Monday: Time to work on memoir. Suggested topics include reading and the common/coalition app college essay prompts.

Tuesday: Continue working on memoir essay

Wednesday: Creative nonfiction - research-based. Read Doyle's "Joyas Voladoras" and discuss the narrative techniques at work in the essay. 

Thursday: Begin your research-based nonfiction essay.

Friday: Wild Mind Writing!

September 12-16

Monday: We read about writing rituals and wrote a paragraph about what the ideal environment/writing routine would be.

Tuesday: Warm-up - Write about "guilty pleasures." We read about "write what you know" and started a list of four categories of topics and a list of 10 "secret worlds" that only you have access t

Wednesday: We read "Superman and Me" and talked about Creative Nonfiction as a genre.

Thursday: Warm up: the first book you read. Concrete and Abstract Nouns. Begin writing a memoir essay.

Friday: Wild Mind Writing. 

September 7-9: First Week of School!

We are working on generating material. The assignment for this week is Abecedarius - due on Friday.

Fridays: Wild Mind Writing! You are going to love this, believe me!