About IFP

Introducing My UDL Page

My writing and teaching have both changed a great deal over the years.  If you're visiting this page for the first time, I sincerely hope you'll find my IFP page helpful for your writing.  However, for my most recent approaches to teaching writing, you might visit my new website on applying University Design for Learning to English Composition.  The new website is necessary because the limitations of Blogger make it very, very difficult to rearrange pages and sections to create the kind of "guided tour" through concepts that I feel can most benefit students.  Writing process, as I see it, is very rarely linear.  Sure, you sit at the keyboard and you type until you reach the end of the line, but there are so many other considerations at every stage.  From reading to rearrangement to deletion, each work of writing requires a variety of skills, and each student begins with their own sets of strengths.  Although the semester does force me to produce a rather linear syllabus, the concepts themselves are not.  With Google Sites, it's simply easier to put my personal teaching theories to the practice of web design.

Revisions and Then Some

When I began the IFP page, it was designed for the Introduction to Fiction and Poetry course I taught at Johns Hopkins.  Later, I adapted the page for my English 101 and 145 courses at Illinois State University.  Unfortunately, life is change - the old words sometimes fall short of what you need.  Or as Faulkner and others have said, "In writing, you must kill all your darlings."

Thanks to the internet, my lovely IFP website can remain, including that name change to "Investigation, Freewriting, and Poetics."  My overall focus remains unchanged: to provide helpful lessons for beginning and intermediate writers looking to improve their work.  For a more in-depth look at my approach to teaching, please see my Workshop Philosophy page on the 12Writing homepage.

The blog itself has developed from the three undergraduate courses I've taught, and the individual lessons tend to follow the chronological order of when I've taught them.  If you're new to the site, I recommend following the links below to the topics that interest you.  If you have specific questions, please feel free to post them to the 12Writing Facebook Fan Page.

Genre Studies

As a writer, you'll want to be aware of how genre affects the goals, expectations, and conventions of your work.


Whether writing short stories or novels, you'll want to look at how narrative, clean prose, and other techniques of fiction can help you write a compelling story.


Some think of poetry as "music for the page."  With the right combination of imagery and rhythm, you'll be able to evoke powerful emotions in your readers.


Whether you're persuading and audience or simply explaining "how to," you'll want to prepare essays which are clearly written and well-organized.