A few articles have surfaced recently discussing the assessment process of creative writing and how to properly do that without having an opinion. My brain started to question, why in the world would you want to be opinion-less with something that NEEDS opinion?
In a school setting, creative writing projects ultimately need to be written for its intended audience (a.k.a your professor or English teacher). Sure, people recommend grading these assignments with the intention to purely assess for structural flaws or grammatical errors but we all know that often times the graders own personal preferences could also influence their grading process. With assignments which have deadlines, writing capabilities are challenged. It’s hard to adopt your own creative process when you have another person’s personal preferences and deadlines looming out in front of you.
Instead of making every short story project (or whatever story form you are practicing at the time) mandatory in a writing class or course, what if creative writing is used as a source of extra credit? Students are always looking for options for extra credit and teachers are always looking for ways to get their students more involved with their work- seems like a win-win for everyone. It would encourage writers to come forth and own their passion for putting their fingers to a keyboard. It also encourages writers to participate and challenge themselves if they choose to; there is no pressure of a week-long deadline or need to write a particular type of story. The best part is that grading isn’t an opinion here. If a student does the extra credit assignment, then BAM…check mark next to their name – that’s it. Of course, if the grader chooses to give detailed feedback on how to improve sentence structure, character development, setting description, etc. they can.
A class also doesn’t have to have a creative writing focus to have this extra credit option. A teacher can still grant their students this freedom to challenge their writing skills when they please and not feel pressured on the grading system. It also puts more of a focus on themes within creative writing and/or creative writing altogether, which we all know we can use a little more of in our lives.
So, maybe we should see a transition of creative writing courses into groups, sessions, and after-school activities. It also doesn’t hurt to have a concentration in creative writing with that English degree though…