Thursday, March 12

Today is Thursday of WEEK 8 of the class. If you have not turned in your Week 7 Storybook assignment yet, you may still do that on Thursday morning for partial credit. For those of you in Myth-Folklore or World Lit, Thursday morning, until noon, is the grace period if you forgot to do any of the assignments that were due on Wednesday. (Indian Epics has no Wednesday assignments, so there is no Thursday morning grace period.)

Fall 2009 enrollment. I know that many of you are graduating this spring (congratulations!), but for those of you who will be in school next year, I wanted to give you a chance to reserve a place in one of these online classes for Fall, if you are interested. The online courses all fill up very fast, but if you let me know BY MARCH 25 that you would like to take one of these classes in the Fall, I will reserve a space for you. You can get more information about each of the three classes at, which links to the websites for each class.

Shortening a LONG story. Quite a few of you have struggled with finding a way to take a very long original story as your source (it is not uncommon for fairy tales to be 2000 or 3000 words long, or even more) and to turn that long source into a story that is 1000 words long. There's one strategy that almost always works - which is to NOT EVEN LOOK at the source story while you are writing. Instead, read the source story once just to get a first impression. Then, read the story again, and take notes, by hand - make them brief notes, no complete sentences, and absolutely no quotes. Only take notes about what matters to the plot - no descriptions, no direct speech, just the plot and characters. Then, write your version of the story, from your notes only, and do NOT LOOK at the original story at all. Keep your version short. Then, if you end up with some words to spare, go back and add in details and description where you think they will be most effective.

Storybook Stack. I've still got about some items left in the Storybook stack that were turned in on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday which I hope to read and return to you today (if you turn something in today, Thursday, I will have comments for you today or on Friday). If you want to check to make sure your assignment is in the stack, you can see the contents of the stack here. The final deadline for turning in a late Week 7 Storybook assignment for partial credit is today, Thursday, at noon. The deadline for getting comments back from me before Spring Break is Friday at noon. If you turn in a Storybook assignment before noon on Friday, I will do my very best to get comments back to you before Spring Break.

March 12: Jack Kerouac. Today, March 12, is the birthday Jack Kerouac, the great American novelist of the "Beat" generation of writers; he was born in 1922. You can read more about Kerouac's life and career in this Wikipedia article. He is most famous for his novel On the Road, which he wrote in a burst of inspiration during the month of April in 1951, at the ripe old age of 29. In order to keep pace with his writing style, he taped pieces of paper together in a continuous roll of paper that was 120 feet long which he could then feed into the typewriter without having to stop to put new pages into the typewriter. Just imagine what he could have done with a word processor, eh? The actual roll of paper has been preserved; here is the start of the novel at the top of the roll (click here for a larger view - and you can also see a display of the scroll rolled out):