Poetry, Narratives, and Plays, Oh My: Creative Writing Class at OC

One of the many interesting electives OC offers that few students know about is Creative Writing. Taught by English teacher, Mrs. Beckler, the class is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have a passion for writing and a desire to express themselves. Mrs. Beckler didn’t have much of a choice on the matter when she was assigned to teach the class last fall, but she couldn’t be happier with the outcome so far. She began teaching the class with a fellow English teacher, Mrs. Flaus, and the two used the previous curriculum to design the course as their own. They created five main projects for the semester: a personal narrative, poetry portfolio, short play, children’s book, and novella. Out of all the projects assigned, Mrs. Beckler noted that the children’s book is her favorite because “it combines creative writing and illustration.” She likes how the project includes a visual component that gives students the opportunity to showcase their artistic talents. 

The children’s book is not extremely stressful to write, but it still provides students the opportunity to strengthen their creative writing skills. She noted, “You don’t have to worry about long detailed sentences, but word choice and writing for a certain audience is still important.” In her free time, Mrs. Beckler enjoys sending letters to people as her own personal form of encouragement, and stated, “I don’t think of giving gifts. A lot of the times I come up with the most genuine things to write when it’s not a holiday.” Although it may not seem like it, writing letters does apply some skills from creative writing such as providing examples and showing action. Even though she loves writing now, Mrs. Beckler did not discover her passion for writing until her sophomore year of college, when she was exposed to more creative writing and research writing. She always journaled when she was young, but her college classes allowed her to grow incredibly. Through her college experience, she learned that “You can enjoy a subject a lot more when you master it or make great steps to improve.” Now as a creative writing teacher herself, Mrs. Beckler wants her students to find a new worldly perspective and gain more insight into the imaginative world around them. Her main goal for this semester is to cultivate “a love for writing,” and show her students that anyone can do it: “Like Ratatouille.” A nurturing environment can stimulate great creative process, and Mrs. Beckler makes that the primary focus of her class. Pacing and low-stress are key to creating an atmosphere where students feel comfortable collaborating with other writers while also devoting time to individual works.

One senior in 9th-period Creative Writing, Mia Tomasic, transferred into the class after the first week and found it surprisingly helpful with college essay writing as application season gears up for the Class of 2020: “This is definitely helping me put more thought into it.” Sharing one’s work can be a nerve-wracking process, especially since the fear of judgment looms over every writer. Getting to know each other is the key to being comfortable sharing our creative voices, as Emma Shaughnessy points out, “I’ve learned a lot about my classmates that I don’t think I would have known had I not taken the class. Creative writing requires you to be vulnerable, and my peers have been really open with sharing their life experiences.”

Despite being only four weeks into the course, we would recommend Creative Writing to all underclassmen looking for a writing outlet that doesn’t require specific citations or supporting examples. Creative Writing is exactly what the course name suggests – get creative! Mrs. Beckler and Ms. Flaus find innovative and fun ways to get everyone’s creative juices flowing and relax our minds after other stressful classes. Creative Writing is a must-do elective on the list for anyone willing to reach out of their comfort zone, let loose, and express themselves!