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15 Stories Every Creative Writing Professor Has Read

As a former adjunct professor of creative writing, I can’t offer the world much besides $4 for one cup of tea and my teaching stories. I’ve already spent $4 for a cup of tea this week, so I am now going to share with you my limited teaching wisdom. The one piece of advice I can offer to creative writing students is this: use your imagination.

 

Don’t try to write a technical masterpiece. Nobody writes technical masterpieces. Most readers probably don’t even enjoy technical masterpieces. Just think of some funny, crazy, maybe emotional thing and put that thing into a Word document and send that to your professor. You have an imagination. You once played with toys. Go back to those days. But whatever you do, please, for the love of underpaid, misguided adjunct professors everywhere, AVOID writing one of these.

 

1. The one that’s surprisingly religious.

 

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2. The one that makes it look like you’ve done a lot of drugs.

 

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3. The incomprehensible fantasy one that’s ALSO really religious.

 

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4. The one about two strangers meeting in a coffee shop.

 

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5. The one where your grandparent dies.

 

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6. The one where you reveal a lot of personal information about yourself and your adjunct professor isn’t sure if he should walk you to the school therapist.

 

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7. The one about your crush.

 

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8. The one about your professor.

 

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9. The one about your professor who you have a crush on.
 

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10. The one about your dog, but it’s fiction so she can talk.

 

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11. The one where a homeless person does something stereotypical and offensive.

 

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12. The one where an unhappily married woman drinks wine and looks out a window.

 

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13. The one where none of the characters want anything and there is no conflict, but there is one metaphor everybody likes.

 

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14. The one that’s edgy, so none of the characters have names.

 

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15. The one that is so experimental it fundamentally rethinks what literature as a medium is capable of accomplishing. And so the writer never does a second draft, thus earning a C in creative writing.

 

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