Things Not to Say in a Creative Writing Class

My Brother Tod lays out the five things students shouldn’t bring up when discussing each other’s work in his creative writing classes. I like #4:

4. The word theme. See motif. And then get your head out of your ass.
Who cares about theme? I mean, really, when you walk into Barnes &
Noble, do you say, "I’d like to find a book today with a really good
theme," or when you see an ad on TV for a new movie like, say, Sahara,
do you immediately begin wondering about how cool the theme will be?
No. No you don’t. Do you know why? Because it is bullshit you learned
in high school because your teacher was lazy. I had a student last
quarter that I rather liked personally, but her story suffered because
she kept talking about getting the metaphor and theme right, until
finally I said, "Who gives a fuck about theme and metaphor? Let’s see a
show of hands." No one raised their hands — well, okay, one person
did, but she dropped the class with two weeks left, so she doesn’t
count — and I said, "No one gives a fuck about theme and metaphor
except high school English teachers." I then remembered, uh, yeah, she
was a high school English teacher.

By the way,  the total Fuck Count in the entirety of Tod’s post (ie the number of times the word fuck appears) is:  6. The Fuck Count should not be confused with the Fucktard Count, since fuckard is an entirely different word.

2 thoughts on “Things Not to Say in a Creative Writing Class”

  1. While people never choose a book for the theme, and never read it through to the end the first time for the theme, the reason they’ll read it the next twenty times is because beneath the story lay a compelling theme.
    Theme however, has little to do with that tedious definition we were all abused with in high school. The theme is the part of the story that is the writer’s passion. How writers find themes.


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