Good Stories
(Creative Writing Workshop)

Teacher: Lise Brody
Extra Help: Room 302, Thursdays or by appointment.

Course Overview


Welcome! Here is what I know about this class:

  • We will write every day. Sometimes, it will just be a 10-minute free-write. Sometimes, it will be the whole period.

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

  • We are going to focus on elements of craft. For the first month or two, we will do short prompts. Eventually, you will choose one project to develop fully. You will probably only complete and polish one story 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.

But... I still have to grade you. As a class, we will identify a list of skills for each of the writing strands (content, structure, language/conventions). Your grades will be based on your mastery of these specific elements. They are not a reflection on your promise as a writer, your originality, or how much I like your story. Nor are they a reflection of your “effort.”

You will turn in writing packets for assessment four times during the semester. The first one or two packets will contain short studies that showcase your best work in each of the grading strands. By the third packet, you should have chosen a single project, which will be graded for all three strands. Packet due dates: 9/22, 10/20, 11/17, 12/15.

About Revision:

Revision is not something you do after waiting to see whether your grade was was high enough. It's something you do throughout the writing process. Since you will be working on one project for a good deal of the semester, you will be receiving plenty of feedback and revising all along the way. I am always happy to look at your drafts and work in process, but if you would like to hand in a revision for grading between packets, you need to have a convincing reason.

What you need for this course:

A binder and two spiral notebooks. Please bring them every day, along with a pen and pencil.

Cell phones

    Do NOT bring phones into class. If I see one, I will ask you to take it to Tina. If you listen to music when you work, please plug your headphones 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 Dr. Arnold 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.


See separate sheet for a description of the honors work.

Extra Help

Please come see me! My extra help is on Thursday 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 keep 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.