That makes no difference to me; I teach both of them as if students were, indeed, receiving college credits toward a degree. Each class is two hours a week for six weeks. Despite the number of years I have been teaching, I write new lesson plans, bring in new outside speakers, and gear the course to the new people who take it. Therefore, it is a different course every semester.
To my knowledge, the community college has never offered anything like this before. It is not so much a class as a workshop or authors' support group. I try to get everyone on the same page on the first night by asking what I consider the four fundamental questions:
- What is your book about?
- What is your book's purpose?
- Who is your ideal reader?
- Where do you want to be by the last week of class?
After telling everyone what she did wrong and what she did right, she pulled out a letter she had received that day. It was from an literary agent to whom she had sent a dynamite query letter. The agent wrote that she "would be honored" to see the complete book proposal.
The class burst into spontaneous applause.