"So what are the things you want me to change in my story," my Intro to Fiction Writing student asked today in my office.
"Nothing," I said.
"Huh?" she said.
"I don't WANT you to change anything. It's not my story."
"Don't you like it? Then why don't I have an A on it yet?"
"Because your grade on it is based upon YOUR understanding of what's not quite working craft-wise and your ability to try and work with it. There are several things I like about it, like ____, _____, and ______. But I want to see YOU thinking about it and what can make it better. I brought up ____, _____, and _____ during workshop."
"So, I need to change THOSE things?" she asked.
"Well, I'd start with the things YOU see that need work--if they're coming from my feedback, sure."
"I understand," she said, "that I need to be able to understand story structure myself, but do you know you are EXASPERATING?"
"I know," I said, "but it's YOUR story."
She laughed. "Can I grade myself?"
"That would be so much easier for me. I love helping and suggesting. I HATE grading."