Dr. Jessica Clements’ EL 304 Fiction Writing students created and preserved a stunning and extensive picture of their learning through a concept map!
Dr. Clements says, “a concept map can be defined, within the writing process, as an invention strategy or brainstorming technique. It appeals readily to visual learners and is used to explore the boundaries/scope of a given topic or concept.” For a look into the making of this project, Dr. Clements describes that her students began by writing a “topic or concept in the middle of a sheet of paper (or in the middle of your screen), circle it, then write down EVERYTHING connected with it that comes to mind.” It is through this extensive process of (in this case) filling an entire white board with thoughts and connections surrounding the topic “Character Development” that Fiction Writing students can gain a better grip on such an important aspect of writing. She says the goal of a concept map is “not to limit yourself or to start analyzing before you’re done extending and expanding the wealth of possible ideas to follow-up on; you free associate for as long as your brain will allow.”
Meghan Laasko is one of Dr. Clements’ Fiction Writing students who expressed how much fun the exercise was for her and responded to the experience by commenting, “Obviously, writing of any kind is hard. Trying to come up with a unique character is even harder. There is so much temptation in fiction writing to tell the reader all there is to know about the character in a single paragraph of specific description about the appearance of that character. This mapping exercise gave us ways to subtly include important information about our characters through the senses. This allows the reader to see the character as they can relate through their senses.” It is clear that such an extensive endeavor as a concept map is well worth the time of any writer. English Majors, take Fiction Writing, EL 304!