Главная страница «Первого сентября»Главная страница журнала «Английский язык»Содержание №11/1999

Creative writing can be a great deal of fun

“Writing classes have changed. They have become more humanistic, more friendly, and more fun. Young children are now writing in their second language, and students have a great variety of writing tasks and more interesting opportunities to write. Students and teachers are more relaxed; they work together, they collaborate.” (Ilona Leki, 1991)

Written communication is by far more complicated than oral. It requires greater refinement, precision, expressiveness, clarity; to say more: the a deeper feeling and mastery of the language. Isn’t it the very aim of second language teaching! The wish to create something important, talented, and to share it with readers and peers is natural. To foster the motivation is the aim of the language teacher. When students are not focused on grammatical errors, when they are writing freely for self-expression, they develop confidence and a sense of power over the language that none of the other skills is likely to produce. The feeling of control over a new linguistic code is very satisfying and encouraging.

There is no literature course without developing the feeling for the word, which constitutes the basis for creative writing skills. That is why my class of British and American Literature includes thirty hours of creative writing workshops. During the first ten hours we make shaky, slippery steps in the rich world of the English language: investigate the brightness of synonym rows (e.g. beautiful, fine, good-looking, attractive, appealing, lovely, graceful, gorgeous) and write our own short but very strong descriptions. In them the desk is a ship in the stormy ocean of knowledge, a bag has its clever and tasty pockets… Why not try your hand in writing a dialogue: it can story.

Imitation of great masters brings of style, connects thoughts and feelings with the material of art — the Word. After reading attentively examples from high literature, we do lots of exercises, play games with figures of speech: similes, metaphors, symbols, inversion. This is followed by experimenting with poetic techniques: alliteration, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia. Students use them in their first poetic artworks and explore the effect of the choices on the meaning.


The universe is so big,
And I’m so small in it,
But I live and I am happy,
Cause you are with me.
Your eyes look like stars,
Your hair looks like Milky Way,
Your arms look like nebulas,
You are a universe for me.

By Alexey Lisovichenko


I am in space
Hey, look, a star!
It shines so bright,
That I can see
UFO, shaped like a banana.
“Bumm-bumm-do-do,” – they say to me.
But I can’t understand.
Gosh, stinkies cut my planking!
I’ll kill them! He-e-lp! End.

By Irina Loseva

It is terrific to really feel oneself a poet, or a poet interpreter, and venture to translate such a great Russian poet as Afanasy Fet (poems of 1843 and 1847 respectively) for example.


I was standing without motion,
And I looked at the shiny far stars.
That evening I felt a connection
Between me and the brilliant stars.

I thought…but I don’t remember about,
I was listening to a mysterious song.
And my love to the stars was found,
And my love to the stars was strong.


Tell me your cherished dreams,
Open your mind to my soul.
Words, which couldn’t be found,
Blow into my soul with a sound.

Translation by Pavel Alekseev

By the end of the course we feel already the difference between the romantic, realistic, modernist styles, and experiment, with delight, writing in the stream-of-consciousness technique.



He was sitting and thinking of going to the exam. He could go. But, if he isn’t lucky, it will be bad. But how to avoid the exam? Call a doctor? And what to say? The doctor won’t believit. So it is better to go. But it is necessary to prepare. And if he misses the exam without any reason, he will have great troubles. And so he decided to go. But his thoughts were about his choice. Maybe he wasn’t right. But this choice was better than other variants. So the only problem was: will he be lucky or not? Will he manage to remember all he needs? Will he be lucky? He doesn’t know. And nobody knows. Future is a mysterious thing. The fortune is changeable. Nobody knows the future. So maybe…

The exam was still going on…

By Denis Zotov


Finally, the time comes for serious reader-directed compositions, such as critical, persuasive, personal essays, articles to the school or community newspaper and magazine. In writing creatively, students have the freedom to imagine interesting characters, fantastic scenes, and dramatic plots. They can choose various literaru forms: short stories, poems, songs, plays, screenplays. They cannot do without practicing idioms, proverbs and sayings.

At present I have a pile of articles about “very important and talented persons”. That is the final project students have been working on for the last half a year. They will be published in the school journal “The Fiery Bird”. I hope you will soon be able to read the best compositions on the Student Page in “English”. Isn’t it great to encourage them to use their second language for recording and sharing their ideas with peers.

If you feel really interested in all this, and you haven’t got such a class in your educational institution, you can easily join the Youth English Section Club in the newspaper “English”. Its aim is to use the English Language as the a means of written and oral communication for better cultural understanding. And you are welcome to send your best works for publication for other students to read and appreciate.

I am sure that a creative writing course is a read helping hand, and a never ending source of language perfection (native or second); while the excitement of publication is a real remuneration for your work. My two month stay, as a national Finalist of the Teachers of English Awards program, at the University of Delaware, the USA in the summer of 1998 supplied me with ideas, materials and assurance in the productivity and necessity of such a syllabus and such a club in cooperation with the Russia-wide newspaper “English”.

By Olga Boltneva