Learning About Creative Writing 2

Andrew Kleissler, Reporter

Creative Writing 2 is an English elective available to students who have taken Creative Writing 1. Mr. O’Halloran goes into detail about what it’s really all about and how it differs from Creative Writing 1.

Barron Perspective: What about teaching Creative Writing 2 is different than teaching Creative Writing 1?
Mr. O’Halloran: Creative Writing 2 is an independent study. Students who are serious about writing get the opportunity to explore poetry or fiction and churn out a chapbook of poems, a collection of short stories, or a novella by the end of the semester. Along the way, they take a deep dive into the concept of “writer’s craft” and gain firsthand experience with how to improve writing through the writing process, and through the workshop process.

BP: How long have you been teaching Creative Writing 2?
MO: If I’m not mistaken, this is my fourth year teaching Creative Writing 2.

BP: Which class do you prefer teaching?
MO: I enjoy both. They each present different challenges for young writers, and I get to talk about writing so, as I said, it’s fun and meaningful for me.

BP: Are there any prerequisites required to take Creative Writing 2?
MO: Yes, students must take Creative Writing 1 before Creative Writing 2. So, since the prereq for Creative Writing 1 is successful completion of 9th grade English, all students enrolled in Creative Writing 2 are juniors and seniors.

BP: What will students learn in this class?
MO: Because it’s an independent study, they’re really learning on their own about writing, and the decisions that writers make. I facilitate mini lessons on different topics related to their chosen discipline of poetry or fiction, like how to better use lines and stanzas, or how to handle time jumps. I also facilitate the writer’s workshop, which is a way to get peer feedback and criticism on a written piece. Everything we do works towards the goal of becoming a stronger writer, with a more critical eye on one’s own writing.

BP: During which semester is this class usually offered?
MO: It’s usually been offered in the spring semester, but this year it’s in the fall. It really depends on how it fits into the master schedule.

BP: Why should students take this course?
MO: I think this course presents writers with a real look at a college level creative writing course. For students who want to pursue a degree in writing, this is a great taste of what that will look like. And you get to write a ton of original pieces, and explore your own ideas.

BP: What students would gain the most from this course?
MO: Students with a very strong interest in Creative Writing, who may want to explore the discipline in college, or who are serious about one day getting their work published.

BP: How will this class benefit students now and in the future?
MO: It will prepare students for a college level Creative Writing course, and help students find their own discipled routine to produce good writing.

BP: What do you enjoy about teaching this course?
MO: I am always blown away by the ideas students have, and how much of themselves they give to their classmates. It’s usually a very small class, and they come together as this amazingly supportive group to offer encouragement, praise, and honest criticism. I love what they’re able to do in such a short amount of time.