Narrative Forms

May 2007

I suppose it's pointless to review the course since the department is changing so much into a major and all, but in the event that Prof. Rosario continues after the transfer, I'll continue. She was a really great professor with good insights into our pieces. She had gave detailed comments on everything from our short stories to the smallest assignments and activities. She had interesting writing tips and character suggestions, and the assignments were really helpful--I ended up using two as jumping-off points for two stories. I enjoyed the class, and I'm pleased with the works I've written for it.

Apr 2006

I agree with the negatives - the break, the late starts, the cancelled (and not made up) class - I was in the same class that went on the wild goose chase for the irrelvant novel. However, one positive: excellent in office hours. Clear, concise, and helpful critiques.

Sep 2005

I really liked this professor and, although I had my doubts initially, I really liked this class. One of the biggest problems was that, because it was a summer class, participants weren't screened for writing samples, with the result that nearly half of the students in this class had very basic problems with writing, including spelling and grammar. Reading and workshopping these pieces was often, given that this was supposedly an intermediate writing class, a waste of time. Despite that serious problem, Raymond, though he IS hard of hearing and DOES ramble, is great. It's amazing, as a young writer, to have a mentor who has been there. He doesn't really give a sh*t about a lot of the niceties of professorship and is kind of a renegade character, but that all just makes me like him more. This class is recommended for anyone who knows how to write and doesn't have a stick up their *ss.

Sep 2005

The class is a waste of time. You write short stories, workshop them anonymously (but since he calls on everyone else for feedback except the writer, it's obvious) and then at the end of the semester, you get a grade. How he grades it? Who knows. The point is, you won't learn anything about your writing or how to write "a good short story" Either he likes your work or he doesn't. It could be the best story in the world but if it doesn't go with his taste, forget it. He'll tell you he "didn't care too much for that piece" if possibly, point how a few good things he liked and that's it.

Aug 2005

Perhaps the epitome of a waste of time. The instructor is old, hard of hearing, and has a tendency to go on and on without actually giving any useful information on writing. Even in conference I found myself not really getting a lot of what he said, and I don't think I learned anything that I couldn't have figured out on my own. Grading, as is typical in the Creative Writing, comes at the end without any real evidence to back it up. Avoid.

May 2005

Professor Rosario's insight really helped me improve my writing - the improvements were seen in this class but also in my work in other courses. She allows everyone to contribute to class discussion and provides assistance to the writer. She makes many "mark-ups" on returned assignments, a testament to her attention to detail. After taking this class, my writing became much more fluid and concise. The seven short assignments are based on specific assignments, while the three long works are on the topic of choice.

May 2005

I second the will-work-for-money opinion. This is the first writing class we've ever had a break in (a less-than-two-hour class). The first class met for a few minutes and we were told to get a book that turned out to be near impossible to find. Sometimes class let out early. We didn't begin bringing in our own work until the third week. He never gave back our last papers. Etc. An expensive disappointment.

Mar 2005

I agree with the previous review. She really didn't seem to care. She didn't respond to my emails. She had a required conference after each story, but she was late both times and took personal phone calls both times, thus my 15 minute conferences ended up being abut 5 minutes. Beyond that, she didn't give solid advice, it was sort of airy and I'd leave the workshop not having any idea of what worked and what didn't. Of course, a lot of the student work was abyssmal, pretentious and inaccessible (style over substance).

Jan 2005

Joanna Hershon didn't seem to care all that much about the class. She makes good points about students' writing ocasionally, but she was boring and didn't push students. I don't know, in my opinion she kinda sucked.

May 2004

Like any writing workshop, this class will be a shooting star if the writers are all good, or will feel like banging a nail through your hand if the writers stink. In a class where the writers weren't always chomping at the bit to critique something, Hilma provided a decent substitute by stepping in and letting you know what she thought. She is very respectful of your writing but also able to give good criticism. I would have liked her to whip the class into shape a little more (people got away with handing in un-proofread first drafts for the whole semester and everybody always came late and often didn't talk), but all in all she is a nice lady, and of course, the class will get you to write.

Dec 2003

Although Professor Adams could win us over with her cuteness, she was largely unhelpful as a writing instructor. Classes consist of a few attempts to get students interested in the work of famous authors, some unhelpful diagrams on the board, and then workshopping up to four works each time. It turns out that there are too many assignments to allow for effective revision, not to mention the fact that her comments on your work are more analysis of its deeper meanings than critical suggestions. She expects people to read other people's work (I repeat, four stories each class) AND also read the copies of stories and other nonsense she passes out each time. Fortunately, she's too wishy-washy to follow up on most of this stuff. She's extremely sweet-tempered and she put up with the snide comments our class was continually making, but her teaching skills are fluffy at best. One good thing was that she seemed to get really involved in every story, resulting in her remembering everything that anyone ever wrote. Which, actually, might not be such a good thing after all.

May 2002

God damn, this guy is bad. But he certainly is tall. No one can take that away from him. This class was at its worst when Beller missed one week and then dragged us all downtown to attend one of his reading the next week. It was in an overheated office/art-gallery, but that's beside the point. Teaching Narrative Forms is clearly a means to a paycheck rather than an expression of any desire to teach. The point is that Beller is enamoured of David Foster Wallace and all the stylistic cocksuckery that made him famous. Look out.

Apr 2001

Victor LaValle will be your best critic--he's brutally honest. He won't hesitate to rip your stories to shreds. But on the other hand, he will give praise where praise is due. He is meticulous in reading your story, going through line by line with substantial comments at the end. Great sense of humor, he kept the atmosphere relaxed, but he also made sure to encourage honest, fair critique in the class. Please check out his collection of stories, Slapboxing With Jesus! He is an extremely talented writer. Perhaps the only disappointment you might have is with the class itself and the quality of the students' writing. It was a mixed bunch of really good writers and not so great writers.