Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Stephen King Teaches Writing
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> General Discussion
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
buravirgil



Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 170
Location: Jiangxi Province, China

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 2:24 pm    Post subject: Stephen King Teaches Writing Reply with quote

It went best for me when I could communicate my own enthusiasm. I can remember teaching Dracula to sophomores and practically screaming, “Look at all the different voices in this book! Stoker’s a ventriloquist! I love that!” I don’t have much use for teachers who “perform,” like they’re onstage, but kids respond to enthusiasm. You can’t command a kid to have fun, but you can make the classroom a place that feels safe, where interesting things happen. I wanted every 50-minute class to feel like half an hour.
-- The Atlantic, 09-2014


Most of the discussion I've read about this article points out a misidentification of the Oxford, or serial, comma.

King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is better than F. Scott Fitzgerald's, but Flannery O'Connor's Mystery and Manners cannot be beaten.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9493
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interested in what way this might link to EFL/ESL, as it's not at all apparent to me.

Is the intent to illustrate the value of enthusiasm? If yes, that's a bit far-fetched in our context as the audience King was 'screaming' at were native English speaking teenagers who (most likely) know his work at least a bit; the situation's wholly different for the vast majority of EFL/ESL teachers who don't happen to be extremely famous writers.

Is it about 'make the classroom a safe place where interesting things happen?' More do-able, but in this respect, fairly obvious. I doubt any of us would argue the points, though the degree to which 'we' accomplish this certainly will vary given individual conditions (also related to students, their number, and general culture). These aspects are not entirely within our control as teachers.

Make every 50 minutes feel like 30? Again, cool, but EFL/ESL teachers are not entirely in control of this aspect, either. I'd like to see even Stephen King make a 50-minute mandatory test prep class for a bunch of unmotivated teenagers do this (consistently; of course sheer star power would be a huge help that most EFL/ESL teachers wouldn't have).

Neither is it the case that most of us are teaching non-native English speakers to write novels in English, so not sure of the relevance of the three books you cite.

In short; I don't see any relevance here, frankly.

Unless you're actually trying to start a discussion about commas Shocked
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
buravirgil



Joined: 23 Jan 2014
Posts: 170
Location: Jiangxi Province, China

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 6:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
Very interested in what way this might link to EFL/ESL, as it's not at all apparent to me.

Is the intent to illustrate the value of enthusiasm? If yes, that's a bit far-fetched in our context as the audience King was 'screaming' at were native English speaking teenagers who (most likely) know his work at least a bit;...
I stopped quoting your post at an error. King taught before his success with Carrie, not after. Few famous professionals do, but I love to cite an exception: Steve Wozniak.

I posted the article for its value as a whole, not any part. "Show and don't Tell," is a fuzzy principle that has come up for me when editing native and non-natives alike. Canonical works provide exemplars for some sentence combining exercises I currently run. I enjoyed it, frankly, and my appreciation of writing as a craft has informed me as a teacher.

But you're probably right. Wink It'll be deleted. Laughing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9493
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 6:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I stopped quoting your post at an error. King taught before his success with Carrie, not after.


Ah, I see. That's supposed to be a 'fact' that everyone everywhere is totally aware of, even those of us who do not read pulp horror. Mea culpa.

Good non-fiction writing, from the level of posts here all the way up to dissertations and published articles, has clear purpose and relevance. Again, not at all sure how either the original post here or the next one fit into that.

Ok, so now I've googled 'Carrie' and I find that it was published in 1974. So King taught writing to some U.S. students 40 years ago.

Still questioning relevance here Shocked
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
damn_my_eyes



Joined: 13 Jul 2013
Posts: 134

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The character from The Shining who writes "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" over and over again, he reminds me of some of the posters on here.
Relentlessly posting, 8,000 9,000 10,000+ and with nothing interesting to say.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2730
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd hardly call King's writing "pulp horror". I read On Writing more for the autobiographical than style advice though. King's general advice on writing isn't bad, but often he's just repeating, just in a less shrill voice, the "nuggets of nothingness" almost ('Avoid the passive where an active sentence would do or be better', 'Omit adverbs and other needless words' and so on) that seem to have been doing the rounds since at least Strunk & White.

An intelligent reader will interpret and use such advice appropriately and proportionately, but some seem to fall into the trap of following things to extremes (e.g. = 'You can never use a passive') and thinking that THAT is what will improve their writing...but it just ends up wonky. Language Log has a lot of posts on this kind of stuff, and have even mentioned a style guide that they actually like along the way (I don't recall the title, unfortunately).

Ultimately I'm not sure one can learn (or rather, actually do) that much about writing other than simply by getting on with it and trying to say what one wants to say (reading similar prose will obviously help). Books like King's are more to (re-)awaken a passion for imagination and flights of what-if fancy than to grind through whatever supposed "mechanics".

Anyway, thanks for posting the interview, Buravirgil. I've read a number of King's earlier works and short stories so I have some interest in the guy and like the fact that he was a teacher once (albeit not of ESL or EFL).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Capt Lugwash



Joined: 14 Aug 2014
Posts: 346

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Considering hitherto the only "horror" writer I used to read was Poe, I am actually a huge fan of King and have read all the books I have thus far found that he wrote.

Although he speaks in a foreign tongue I can usually get the gist of it but what strikes me about his style is that you aren't really reading a book. You are, late at night, sitting in a cabin with a brandy glass in your hand in front of a log fire while he is three feet away in a rocking chair telling you the story.

That I believe is the reason for his phenomenal success. He doesn't write AT you but TO you.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2730
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You are, late at night, sitting in a cabin with a brandy glass in your hand in front of a log fire while he is three feet away in a rocking chair telling you the story.

And then he gets up like Mike Ryerson in the original Salem's Lot and says "Look at me, Teacherrrr!" Surprised (Falling back thru window onto obvious crash mat purely optional tho Laughing).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Htj10SW0APE
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Capt Lugwash



Joined: 14 Aug 2014
Posts: 346

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is of no interest to me, I was simply commenting on my view of his books. Maybe the accident affected his brain.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2730
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You mean there's no place in your life for trashy but quite fun movie adaptations?! Surprised Crying or Very sad What is the world coming to?!?! Sad Razz Maybe The Raven (John Cusack) would find more favour with you, be more up your street (or dark alleyway), Cap'n? Laughing

Last edited by fluffyhamster on Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:16 pm; edited 2 times in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Capt Lugwash



Joined: 14 Aug 2014
Posts: 346

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry never even followed yours or Bura's links. Simply appreciate the man's writings.

I have many other things that occupy my time when I am not actually working and this ESL Cafe is a small part of it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2730
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, you mentioned 'em on another thread. Cool And I really should be running along myself rather than letting the Cafe ruin my life! Shocked Just say NO! Exclamation Mad

Last edited by fluffyhamster on Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Capt Lugwash



Joined: 14 Aug 2014
Posts: 346

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Me too. First class of the year in the morning.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2730
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Give 'em hell or the gangplank, Cap'n!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Capt Lugwash



Joined: 14 Aug 2014
Posts: 346

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't. 3 year students and my class is pointless as it gives them no credit towards their diploma. If they want a degree they have to return for 2 more years and the vast majority are deadheads.

Can't wait for the freshmen to finish their army training.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> General Discussion All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC