Anyone who has ever taken a college class will agree with me on this one: there are always certain types of kids in every class.  This is especially true in my fiction workshops.  I always notice four specific types of students, no matter what.
1. I call her, Little Miss Confused.  She’s not afraid to open up and talk, but she always starts off with, “Like, I was really confused for most of the story.”  As soon as I see her about to speak I know exactly what’s coming.  It takes all of my will power not to stop her mid-breath and say, “let me guess, you didn’t get it.”  Of course I’m not that rude or obnoxious, at least not in public, so I sit there stifling my giggles and my judgment.  

2. I call him, Mr. Expert on Everything.  This kid knows all about all.  Oh, you wrote a story about a psychotic war veteran?  Well, Mr. Expert on Everything happens to know all the side effects of sedatives, as well as all of the symptoms of every minute disorder known to man.  He knows that Killer’s Karma is actually Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and that if a patient displays constant violent behavior, he’d most likely be kept in isolation.  And you probably got most of the details in your story wrong, according to Mr. Expert on Everything.  Your story on vultures in South Africa?  Mr. Expert on Everything can help you distinguish between the different kinds of bacteria that might grow on their beaks.  Fairies and Trolls?  Homosexuality in The Netherlands?  The price of nail polish remover in Russia?  A story you fabricated from the depths of your creative lobe?  He’s right, you’re wrong.

3. I call him, Sir Silent.  He seldom speaks.  He sits in the corner observing, and I’m usually scared of him.  He seems like the type that would rank high on the Columbine Risk Factor list.  The one time he spoke the entire semester, everyone stared in awe, surprised that his vocal chords even functioned.  It’s like he was revealing the secret to nuclear fusion or something, not simply stating that maybe a more realistic connection between the character and the reader would make for a more believable plot.  Even though his observation was nothing profound or life changing, it’s like his one remark trumps anything anyone else has ever said or will ever say and I hate him in all his quiet mystery.

4. I call him Sparky.  He’s the dependable one, even when we are critiquing a mediocre story about zombies or vampires, we can count on him to open up the discussion.  He always talks first, and he talks really slow to give the illusion of dedicating enough time to a really awful story.  “I…really…liked…your…use…of…the…letter…A.”  Thanks, Sparky, for making me feel like less of a jerk for not having anything nice to say about this piece of crap.  At least I’m not the only awful writer in this class.

Tags: Writing

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Compulsive snacker. Bleeding heart. Unhealthy obsession with Tom Hanks and cats. Florida State and Syracuse University alum.
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  1. Reply

    Hi Anna! I am now following you thanks to Tuesday Tag-Along, and it would be nice if you could share the love back on my blog;) Plus, today we teach a bunch of new useful tips to improve your blog's traffic, so make sure you don't miss that and our awesome retro giveaway going on! Happy Wednesday!

  2. Reply

    HAAA. I took a writing workshop and hated it for all these reasons. I had a pre med bio major who thought she owned the place because she was a year older than everyone else.

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