Five Year Anniversary Observations: Online Literary Devices Class
On the eve of completing five years teaching Literary Devices on the WOW-Women on Writing site—three semesters per year—it’s an auspicious time to note my observations and to look for ways to improve.
Some observations (note I have rounded the percentages).
- Participants are overwhelmingly female at ninety-eight per cent. Not a great surprise for a site with the word ‘women’ in the title.
- Sixty percent are working on a short story, thirty percent on a novel and ten percent on a personal essay.
- An overwhelming ninety percent are writing in realism (historical fiction, coming-of-age, memoir, romance). Only ten percent write fantasy.
- The biggest increase in a genre is in the romance genre with a thirty percent increase since 2010! Fully half of my new participants are now writing in the romance genre. Not sure how to explain this. Romance has always been commercially popular.
- Thirty-eight percent of participants have self-published or published at least one short story, flash or essay or participated in a contest in which she was a runner-up. The rest have never published.
- Thirty-five percent of participants are teachers at all levels or work in education.
- Forty percent of participants who sign up for Literary Devices I at some point sign up for Literary Devices II. The gap varies widely from the very next semester to three years.
- And my most unanticipated statistic, my winter classes are always two-three times larger than my autumn classes. Summer sign-up falls somewhere in-between. Perhaps, after the December holidays people want to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions and get into their writing? Just a theory.
Suggestions for future classes:
There is one short story per class. Should we read two?
The class offers participant critique. Would it be best for participants to concentrate only on their own writing in this format?
Should I work in one compulsory Google video meeting (tricky given time zones, but I could try it and see how it works)?
The class is eight meetings. Would you prefer six or ten?
I discuss publication in my Flash class, but Literary Devices focus on writing. Would you prefer a publication component?
I would love to hear from you.