These Bonds Shall Set Me Free:  A Creative Writing Workshop

Teacher: Lise Brody
Extra Help: Mondays
                             room 302 or by appointment.

Welcome! Here is what I know about this class:

  • We will write every day. Sometimes, it will just be a 10-minute response to a prompt. Sometimes, it will be a longer exercise that we will spend the whole period on

  • We will read stories together and discuss what makes them work for us.

  • We are going to focus on elements of craft and approaches to process, rather than on producing completed works. You will write no more than one or two complete stories this semester.

  • We are going to come together as a community of writers. That means learning to respond deeply, thoughtfully, and constructively to one another's writing.

Here are a few things I know about writing:

  • You get good at writing by writing a lot. There is no other way.

  • You get good at writing by reading a lot. There is no other way.

  • There is no set of rules that defines good writing. However, mastering certain skills and techniques can help to make your writing stronger.

About grading...

I do not believe that it is either useful or possible to place a letter value on a piece of literature. Every “rule” that we will examine this semester has been broken in wonderful ways by wonderful writers. I refuse to evaluate the worthiness of your stories.

As a class, we will identify a list of skills for each of the writing strands (content, structure, language/conventions) that you will attempt to master this semester. Every 4 weeks or so, you will select one piece of writing that you feel exemplifies your strongest work in each of those strands. (You may submit a different piece for each strand if you like.) These may be free-writes, story fragments, or polished pieces. I will grade each piece on the skill you submit it for. At the end of the semester, you will look back at all four packets as a portfolio and reflect on the ways your writing has grown.

Packet due dates:


4/16 (block C) / 4/17 (block E)

4/26 (block C) / 4/27 (block E)

What you need for this course:

A binder and two spiral notebooks. Please bring them every day, along with a pen and pencil. You are welcome to bring your computer, but we will begin each class period with a 10-minute writing prompt that you will do by hand in your notebook.

Cell phones

Do NOT bring phones or electronics of any sort into class. If I see one, I will ask you to take it to Tina. Every time. I really mean it. If you listen to music when you work, please plug your phones into your computer.

Risk taking and respect

You will be sharing your creative work in this class.. That means that everybody needs to feel safe and respected. It is important that we give both others and ourselves permission to take risks, and that we be enthusiastically, critically, supportively engaged in one another's process.

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism is claiming someone else’s words or ideas as your own. That means:

  • copying/pasting something from the internet or another source without quote marks and citation

  • paraphrasing something from any source without citation

When in doubt, CITE! If it’s in the gray area, it IS plagiarism. I take this very seriously.

Part of engaging in lively, meaningful conversation is building upon one another’s thoughts. If we do this without giving credit to other thinkers, no matter whether they died 200 years ago or are sitting in class with us, we are not participating in this collective process in a constructive, respectful way.

For more information on the Academic Honesty policy, please refer to the student handbook. Please know that I will take cases of plagiarism to Mr. Orpen with the first offense.

Late Work Policy

In order for an assignment to be eligible for revision, it must be turned in on time. If you would like an extension, you must ask for it before the end of the school day at least two school days before the assignment is due. If you do not have an extension, I will accept late work up to one week after the due date, but the grade will suffer. If you are failing the course due to missing work, please do not ask me to design special extra credit assignments for you.


Honors work for this course is TBD.

Extra Help

Please come see me! My extra help is on Monday afternoons or by appointment. You can reach me at

Saving work for Exhibition Night, POLs, and college recs

I will only approve work for exhibition night or POLs if you bring me the original version with the original rubric and notes. Do not just save it on the computer. Likewise, if you think you might ask me for a college rec, please save any work you are especially proud of with my comments. Much as I always believe I'll never forget a thing about your beautiful paper, sadly, I very well might. Bringing it without the notes and rubric is asking me to do my job twice.