Irvine Valley College

Online Creative Writing Workshop

Writing 10 - Introduction to Creative Writing

Spring 2012 - Ticket # 64580

Marjorie Coverley Luesebrink, Instructor


Week 5:  With a Style You Like

Writing Style

Some writers spend as much as 80% of their time on the style of their writing.  But what is style?  And how do you really go about improving it? 

1.  Online Lecture for Week 5

2.  Assigned Reading:  Your assigned reading for this week includes three pieces - a poem by Matthew Arnold, "The Forsaken Merman," and two classic short stories that show how stylistic approaches can differ between authors.  *Occurence at Olw Creek Bridge* by Ambrose Bierce is from a century ago - and while it is a mysterious, elusive little tale, the style is quite traditional.  On the other hand, *Eva is Inside Her Cat*, a stunning piece by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, shows us a very different way of handling mystery and magic realism.  I wanted us to read these as a reminder that styles change over time, and how we think of "style," so often, as a formal imitation of Romantic or Victorian poets.  Style, however, can encompass wide variety of techniques.  Sometimes what we need to do is improve our "own" style and not try to import language and diction from other writers or eras.  See lecture.

3.  Weekly Writing Exercise

Most of us think of style first:   we are looking to find the kind of style that suits us, our subject matter, and our temperament.  After writing for a few weeks just for play, however, you might find that you have stumbled upon a style that you did not know was in your tool kit.  Regardless, what I would like you to do in this exercise is to try a style you have not used before.  In the lecture for this week, I have outlined some of the major elements of recognizable styles, and your reading should help.  The example for you to model is in Exercises5 - and it will also give you some idea of the kind of thing you might try!

This is the time to have some fun!

4. Be sure you are signed up for a spot on the Workshop Schedule.


  About Your Class // Class Syllabus // Workshop Pieces // Weekly Writing Exercises // Lecture Notes // Reading List // Recommended Reading // Assignments // Grading Policies // Contact Your Instructor // Announcements // Discussion


Marjorie Coverley Luesebrink, your Instructor, is a Professor of English in the School of Humanities and Languages

Irvine Valley College, Irvine, California