During a free write, I wrote this on the board.
After I call time, I always share my writing and encourage anyone who wants to to share all or part of their writing. This time, I asked them to correct my work. They had a LOT to say.
After taking a few suggestions, I posed this question:
Did I make mistakes? Or did I make choices?
There was a short, but spirited debate before I changed the question:
What was my purpose, and was it effective?
Clearly, I was trying to sound frantic. I intended to entertain my middle school students. And believe me, if you’d heard the dramatic reading I did of this piece, you would have been entertained, too, for sure! (They thought I had lost my mind!)
Eventually, they determined that I had made choices. This is when I introduced the term “craft”.
Author’s craft is all the choices we make when we create something.
So, I asked them:
What is on your paper: author’s craft, or author’s accident?
Circle one thing you chose to write, one choice you made on purpose because you knew it was good.
It was one of my favorite lessons so far this year.