This book describes an alternative way to teach Creative Writing, one that replaces the silent writer taking criticism and advice from the teacher-led workshop with an active writer who reflects upon and publically questions the work-in-progress in order to solicit response, from a writers' group as well as from the teacher. Both accompany the writer, first as readers and fellow writers, only later as critics. Because writers ask, they listen, and dialogues with responders become an inner dialogue that guides later writing and revision. But when teachers accompany writers, teaching CW becomes even more a negotiation of the personal because this teacher who is listener and mentor is also a model for some students of the writer and even the person they would like to become - and still the Authority who gives the grades.
Carl Vandermeulen is a generalist whose teaching has included journalism, photography, publication design, literature, teacher education, composition, rhetoric, and creative writing. Similarly, his writing ranged from Photography for Student Publications to studies of literature, rhetoric, communications, and teaching. He did not plan to write a book on creative writing pedagogy, but after he was caught off-guard by a poetry class that he had expected to go well, he had to understand why the opposite occurred. That research led to an article, and then to a survey of 150 CW teachers and interviews with dozens of respondents that provided much of the material for this book.