Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Does Fiction Writing Help Students Write Nonfiction?

I think it does!

I've been thinking about this topic as I've prepared a proposal for the IRA (International Reading Association) 2008 conference. My main idea is that there are many crossover skills between fiction and nonfiction such as focus, organization, including appropriate details, and practicing writing mechanics. On top of that, writing a short story that the student has brainstormed herself is more fun (and actually more work, but don't tell anyone!) than writing the traditional 5-paragraph essay. I also think that students who have practiced using figurative language, imagery, and literary techniques when writing a story will be more likely to use these devices when writing nonfiction. With the addition of the written portion of the SAT, it seems that fiction writing can be one way to help students become more well-rounded writers comfortable using a variety of literary devices.

If you have had experience teaching fiction to intermediate or middle school students and have seen crossover of these writing skills to essays or research writing, please e-mail me at


Sherry said...

Interesting idea, and it makes sense. I'll definitely keep it in mind.

Jan said...

In looking for some sites about teaching fiction writing, I happened upon your blog. I am a long time teacher of first year college writing, and more and more I find myself gravitating toward creative non-fiction and fiction modes as ways of teaching my students how to write. I completely agree with you that the skills transfer; and overall, students enjoy the experience of creative writing far more than some of the more artificial rhetorical modes that are expected of them.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks for finding my blog. Obviously I agree with your sentiments. Not only are creative non-fiction and fiction writing more fun, I find there is greater ownership for students when they come up with original ideas. And their expository writing will sparkle as they experiment with figurative language, vivid verbs, and image-driven adjectives!
IF you want, send me your e-mail address so we can correspond.


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