Meta-Writing & Meta-Fiction


Smallworks 1 (Meta Writing): What Makes Writing Good? Why Write? Writing Well about Writing or Learning to Write:
The Literary Essay & Meta-Writing

This should be a literary essay about writing, learning to write, experiences writing, about ‘why I write’ (Didion, Orwell, Leggo, etc), why poetry matters, writing fan-fiction, blogging, your experiences, etc… Expectations: This essay should enact principles of ‘good writing’ (as explored the first day).

You should also connect with, critique, respond to, or dialogue with other texts/writers (Didion, Orwell, Leggo, the Nauman article about What Makes Writing Good, and take a look at some of the models below).

Models: Writers Writing about Writing (From New York Times: Archive of Writers on Writing)

Models: Writers Writing about Writing (Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected ‘Wisdom’ of Great Writers).

Atwood’s essay might also be considered a model for writers reflecting on writing and literary questions, as well as the process and concerns of writing, questions about ‘genre’, and the purposes and aims of writing.


Smallworks 2: A Short Piece of Meta-Fiction or A Critical Essay about Meta-Fiction, Education, Critical Literacies, Reading the World, etc.

Option 1) Review the models – from meta-movies to The Three Pigs to Scholes’ ‘scenes of language’ and Atwood’s Happy Endings – and the techniques/devices from our in-class session (slides below) and write a piece of meta-fiction. Be seriously playful, but try not to be too ‘heavy-handed’ as the best works of meta-fiction are often subtle in the way that they play!

Media: You may also use media tools like ComicLife to get meta about that medium, too…

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Option 2) Compose an essay (expository/literary prose) connecting and extending the readings about meta-fiction and critical literacies (Scholes, The Three Pigs, and the Kellner article about Critical Literacies, Atwood’s Happy Endings). You may of course use other resources.

Slide Deck: Meta-Fiction Slides: Devices/Techniques

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