|Passing on good advice I received...||[Feb. 3rd, 2009|08:18 pm]|
In one of my creative writing classes, my prof gave me the same piece of advice twice. Yesterday, I got to pass that advice on to one of my own students (OK, so I'm not his teacher, but tutors can be writing coaches too!).|
I'm not entirely clear on what the assignment was, but it involved stories a few pages long, mostly involving climbing mountains. One of the students in my group decided to go all-out with his suspense-novel imagination, and had a climber stranded for months, taking shelter in a pile of the frozen corpses of the rest of his climbing party.
Now, this was definitely a rough draft by a ninth-grader (who'd been told by previous teachers to cut down on detail and story length...quite wrongly!), but it had piles of
frozen corpses potential. I had to give him the same advice that my professor had given me, though:
"It needs to be more brutal."
The poor guy clearly knew that for his story to have the impact that it demanded, it would have to devolve into cannibalism -- slowly and with great detail, as the lone, starving survivor finds the idea of taking advantage of all that frozen meat just a little bit less unthinkable with each cold and miserable day. Unfortunately, a fear (probably well-founded) of having his story labeled "disturbing" kept him from giving himself permission to give his own writing the respect it deserved. Blah -- I miss my creative writing professor.