Author-in-residence shares innovative techniques with creative writing class

By Isadora Decker-Lucke
Author Áine Greaney has been working with English teacher Gloria Tanner’s creative writing class once every three weeks. She applies her real world experience to her teaching and helps the students to further develop their writing skills.
Greaney published her first short story in 1996 and since then has produced a number of short stories, essays, and four books. “I’ve moved away from short stories. I now write short essays, and I’m working on my third novel,” she said.
When Sue Krause, the school’s library teacher, opened the opportunity of inviting Greaney in as an author-in-residence to all English teachers, Tanner said she “jumped on it” and is thrilled to have this experience for the students.
Greaney is also excited to be here. “I couldn’t resist, are you kidding?” she said.
Greaney is a working writer, and she assists the class work through the writing process. Freshman Lauren Coogan, a student in the creative writing class, loves getting feedback from a professional author.
“Oftentimes she will help a student get out of writer’s block,” Coogan said of Greaney. “She helps us to use our minds and be creative in styles of writing that I have never worked with before.”
During the classes she comes into, Greaney talks to the students about their most recent writing assignments and helps them make corrections. Not only does she assign a project to the students, but she also does the assignment as well so that she can work through the writing process with them.
Right now, the class is working on uncomfortable place essays. Greaney read out excerpts from her piece, and then gave the students a chance to give her constructive criticism. After, volunteers from the class did the same with their own pieces.
“I love to work with new writers, it’s very exciting!” Greaney said. “I learn a lot about writing by reading their stories.”
Tanner and her class feel the same way about Greaney. “Because she’s a published writer, she’s had to learn how to motivate herself. It’s a very solitary profession, and she has insights that I think are very helpful to the students,” Tanner said.