My funny prof, first day of class antics, and what he taught me about narration

My last semester as a grad student at the University of Alabama, I took a narratology class. I was technically studying Spanish lit, but I had ONE elective outside the Spanish dept, I was writing my own fiction–I had always wanted to be a writer–and writing was my passion.

I figured narratology would be a fun as well as useful class.

I had taken a previous class in creative writing with this professor as an undergrad, so I knew what I was getting into–or I thought I did.

He came into the classroom on day one, sat with his feet on his desk, and said not a word.

He then proceeded to pull a carrot out of a ziploc bag from his pocket–a carrot–and ATE THE ENTIRE THING, SITTING LIKE THAT, JUST LIKE BUGS BUNNY, BEFORE HE SPOKE A SINGLE WORD.

I knew him already, so I thought it was hilarious. Everyone felt pretty awkward and confused. It was incredibly memorable.

Our assignment before class two was to write an account of the first five minutes of class We all read them out, and it was FASCINATING to see how different they all were.

  • Tones were different. Someone put a brilliant horror/ thriller tone, as in, “What is this crazy dude going to do next?”
  • People noticed different things, or focused on different things (like fellow students’ reactions).
  • Some accounts were more speculative, others were more “just the facts, ma’am.”

It was a brilliant way to start a class where we were studying the art of narration.

It really drove home to me that the plot of a story is really only half the work, half the material, half the focus.

The rest is all determined by the lens through which you reveal it to the reader.

Mark your calendar for June 15 and the launch of The Crimson League: The Fight for Hope. In the meantime, feel free to read an excerpt or this character bio of one of my favorite characters in the whole trilogy.


2 responses to “My funny prof, first day of class antics, and what he taught me about narration”

  1. Sounds like it was a really good introduction to the theme of the course.


    1. He was great. He was SOOO educated. He knew literally every word in the dictionary, I think, and he’d use them, right alongside four-letter words in the next sentence. One of the most fascinating individuals I’ve ever met.


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