Craft Annotation Guidelines
English 237: Creative Writing
Dr. Margot Singer
Craft annotations are a way of reading “as a writer.” Their purpose is to help you examine how a writer has handled a particular aspect of craft in a particular piece of writing. It’s a way of slowing down, of studying the specific things the writer has done to achieve a particular effect. Annotations are like a magnifying glass held up to a small portion of a text with the object of analyzing “what makes it work.” They are different from the kinds of reading responses you may have done for other English classes in that the emphasis is not on meaning or theme so much as on the technical aspects of the writing—image, detail, language, form, point of view, character development, setting, and so on. The goal is for you to discover something about the writer’s technique that you can apply to your own writing someday
1. Stick to the assigned topic
Each craft annotation should focus on a specific element of craft, as follows: Practice craft annotation: Image
Craft annotation #1: Voice
Craft annotation #2: Point of View
Craft annotation #3: Character
You should focus on figuring out how the writer has achieved a given effect and how that effect, in turn, contributes to how we understand the piece. You will find it helpful to read the relevant chapters in Burroway, Addonizio, and Lamott for guidance on talking about these techniques.
2. Choose a work that “speaks to you” to annotate, one in each genre For this exercise, you may choose any of the readings included in Burroway or Addonizio. Pick something you really admire, that “speaks to you”—and illustrates the relevant points—in a meaningful way.
One annotation must focus on a poem, one on a work of fiction, and one on a work of creative nonfiction. Be sure to double-check which genre the piece you choose is categorized in!
3. Read “like a writer”
First read the text you’re annotating for pleasure, noting lines...
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