An introduction to the stylistic and technical elements of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and writing for performance through assigned readings of professional examples and writing exercises. This course is provided in a workshop format and focuses on the production, critique, and revision of student writing. Prerequisite: EN 102. Liberal Arts Core/University Requirements Designation: WI. (3)


2.  COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon successful completion of this course students will be expected to:


Course-Specific Objectives:

·     Discover and develop strategies for the composition and revision of poems, short stories, nonfiction essays, and short dramatic scenes

·     Participate constructively in the workshop process by reading and commenting upon the works of fellow students 

·     Apply the terms, tools, and techniques of the craft

·     Demonstrate an ability to read and appreciate poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama as writers

·     Analyze literature from both scholarly and writerly points of view.


Writing Intensive Objectives:

·     Students will produce creative texts in a variety of genres through a process that involves drafting and revision based on feedback. 

·     Students will produce focused and coherent creative texts that address a specific audience, move effectively between generalizations and details, make honest use of sources, and engage complex ideas without distortion. 

·     Students will produce creative texts that show careful attention to fluent sentence structure, grammatical correctness, and proper documentation. 

·     Students will identify a suitable subject for their writers’ statement, analyze their own creative writing and course materials about the craft of creative writing, and support a focused thesis or argument in a clear and coherent product. 



   Workshop, lecture, discussion, seminar, group work, tutorial


The value (points and/or percentage of grade) of assignments, exams, quizzes, participation, and other graded course components must be specified.

·       25%:   Midterm Portfolio (includes drafts of creative assignments completed on time)

·       25%:   Final Portfolio (includes drafts of creative assignments completed on time)

·       15%:   Community-based projects (including participation and drafts as well as final product)   

·       10%:   Immigrant/refugee OR digital story project           (including drafts as well as final product)      

·       10%:   Exercises        

·       15%:   Participation and attendance (includes in-class responses to readings and workshop feedback)    


Tuesday, January 22, 2019, is the last day to withdraw from a class without academic record.

Friday, March 22, 2019, is the last day to withdraw from a class with a grade of W.




Midterm and final portfolios (25% each):Over the course of the semester you will be expected to write two poems, one nonfiction essay, one short story, one short dramatic piece, and one piece of your choice to submit to large and small group workshops. You will collect these pieces in your midterm and final portfolios; the midterm portfolio will contain your two poems and nonfiction essay and the final will contain your short story, dramatic piece, and piece in the genre of your choice. Together, these portfolios will contain a minimum of 14 pages of revised writing, and they will include the original workshop drafts of each work, substantial revisions, and an analysis of the writing and revision process you went through for each work. Your portfolio will not be graded on the absolute quality of your creative work (i.e., whether or not you write like T.S. Eliot or Toni Morrison), but on the extent to which you engage the process of revision and demonstrate an understanding of your own creative process. Detailed instructions for the portfolios will be available on Canvas.


Community-based Projects (15%): During the semester, we’ll be completing two service projects together as a class. The first will involve editing and providing positive, encouraging feedback on the short creative pieces of 826DC students. The second will involve a trip to a HART (Homeless Animals Rescue Team) adoption event or a KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) event. I will organize two group trips for us, or you can go on your own. You will write a 2-page revised reflection about your experience and incorporate your experience into one of your creative pieces. More details will be available on Canvas.


Refugee story OR Digital story (10%): Toward the end of the semester, you will choose one of two projects. The first option is to select one of your creative pieces (or compose a new one) to work into a short digital film (around 3 minutes) that incorporates images, video, music, and/or sound with your written text. We will spend time in the computer lab learning how to use appropriate software, record a voice track, and create visual effects. We will also discuss how to adapt a written script for film, how to create our own images/ video/ music, and how to employ copyright-free images, video, sound effects, and music from the creative commons.The second option is to interview an immigrant or refugee about their experience to create a piece for use by 1 Journey Festival. Whichever project you choose, you will also discuss the project and its creation in a short reflection piece. More details about both projects will be available on Canvas.


Exercises (10%):In addition to the formal creative assignments, you will also complete weekly exercise assignments designed to help generate material and explore new approaches to subject matter. Sometimes we will have time to work on these exercises in class. All exercises should be posted to Canvas by 12 midnight on the day they are assigned and cannot be turned in late.


Participation and attendance (15%):Because this is a creative workshop, the success of this course is dependent upon every student’s presence and active participation. I expect you to be in class on time and prepared; missing more than four classes will drop your participation grade to a D. Missing more than six classes will drop your participation grade to a zero and most likely result in failure of the class. Your participation grade includes active engagement in our discussion of your classmates’ work, in addition to reading the assigned text(s) carefully and being able to discuss them in conversation and in writing. 


Device use:Devices may be useful at certain moments in our course (you can compose exercises on a laptop, for example, and your digital story will be created entirely on a computer). I am also happy to grant permission to use devices for note taking and other activities under certain circumstances. However, during workshops where student writing is being discussed, the use of devices is distracting and disrespectful and will not be tolerated. If you are using a device without permission, you will receive a zero for the day’s class participation grade.


Plagiarism: Plagiarism occurs when a student submits someone else’s work as her own and includes copying from printed materials, from internet cheat-sites, or from any other source in any form without giving credit to the original author. This course focuses on your individual creative work, and I would much rather have your own, honest effort even if it falls short of excellent. If you use another person’s work or an outside source on your creative or critical work for this course and fail to acknowledge the original source, I WILL GIVE YOU A GRADE OF ZERO on the plagiarized assignment and report the incident to academic integrity.


Late Work: Work that is late will be penalized one letter grade for each day it is late. Work more than two weeks late will not be accepted. If you’re unable to come to class the day an assignment is due, please email me the assignment by the beginning of the class period in which the assignment is due so that I can give you credit for completing it on time. 



            5. CLASS SCHEDULE  

        All reading assignments refer to our course text, Imaginative Writing, except where otherwise noted.


T Jan. 15        Introductions, workshop nuts and bolts, taking refuge

                       Exercise 1due on Canvas discussion board by midnight 

F Jan. 18         Image

                        Chapter 1: Invitation to the Writer (pp. 1-14); Chapter 2: Image (pp. 13-46)       

                       Exercise 2due on Canvas discussion board by midnight


T Jan. 22        Voice

                        Chapter 3: Voice (pp. 47-93)

                       Exercise 3due on Canvas discussion board by midnight

F Jan. 25         Poetry; workshop rules and procedure

                        Chapter 10: Poetry (pp. 297-325); The Workshop (pp. 208-211)    


T Jan. 29        Poetry Workshop

                       Poem due, 20 copies (please print double-sided)

F Feb. 1          Poetry Workshop; Character

                       Chapter 4: Character (pp. 94-109, 118-127)

                              Exercise 4 due on Canvas discussion board by midnight


T Feb. 5          Poetry Workshop

                       Poem 2 due, 4 copies

F Feb. 8          Poetry Workshop; Nonfiction; 826DC pieces distributed

                       Chapter 8: Creative Nonfiction (pp. 225-258)

Exercise 5posted to Canvas by midnight


T Feb. 12        Poetry workshop; Nonfiction workshop; 826DC feedback and review of student work

Nonfiction essay due, 4 copies

F Feb. 15        Nonfiction workshop; Setting

                       Chapter 5: Setting (135-148; 153-158)

826DC edits and feedback due

                       Exercise 6posted to Canvas by midnight


T Feb. 19        Story, Service project intro (HART or KEEN)

Chapter 6: Story (166-175); Wallace (179-181); Hass (187); Goldbarth (188); Lee (189-190)

                       Exercise 7posted to Canvas by midnight

F Feb. 22        Revision workshop, service

                       Chapter 7: Development and Revision (195-224); Empathy and engagement readings on Canvas

                       Bring current drafts of your three creative pieces to class with you (electronic or paper copies)

                        Exercise 8posted to Canvas by midnight

           Individual midterm conferences outside of class, at least one revision due at conference




T Feb. 26        Revision workshop

                       Empathy and engagement readings on Canvas

                        Revised piece due, 4 copies

F March 1      Fiction

Midterm Portfolio due in class




T March 5      Fiction, reflection workshop

                        Chapter 9: Fiction (259-270); Le Guin (280-85); Carlson (290-93)

                       Service reflection draft due, 4 copies

Exercise 9posted to Canvas by midnight

F March 8      Fiction workshop

Short story due, 20 copies (6 for small-group folks)




T March 19    Poetry reading with David Gewanter: Meet in Lee Reception Room 

                        Poetry by David Gewanter

Revised service reflection due on Canvas

F March 22    Film Fest: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly; meet in Reinsch

                       Bloom (270-79); Hemingway (279-80); fiction on Canvas


Friday, March 22: Last day to withdraw from a class with a grade of W


T March 26    Fiction Workshop

Chapter 11: Drama (328-341); Rivera (353-56); Dipietro (363-66)

F March 29    Fiction Workshop, Drama

                       Chekhov (pp. 341-352); Dunne (pp. 356-362)

Exercise 10posted to Canvas by midnight


T April 2         Fiction workshop, Drama workshop

Short dramatic piece due, 20 copies (6 copies for small-group folks): NOTE INSTRUCTIONS FOR DRAMA FORMAT IN YOUR TEXT, pp. 367-372

F April 5          Drama Workshop 

                        Mary Karr selections on Canvas

Exercise 11posted to Canvas by midnight


T April 9         Drama workshop

Exercise 12posted to Canvas by midnight

F April 12       Digital storytelling/Interview workshop: Meet in computer lab

Draft of digital story script OR plan for immigrant/refugee interview due 


T April 16       Small group workshops

                        Piece of choice due, 4 copies


Thursday, April 18, Mary Karr visits, attendance strongly encouraged





F April 26       Digital storytelling/Interview workshop: Meet in computer lab

                       Digital story revised script, images/ video, and music due OR draft of interview and photo due

                       Individual final conferences outside of class


T April 30       Digital story/Interview showcase

Digital story due (post to Vimeo, turn in hard copy of script) OR final Interview and photo posted to class blog

                        Individual final conferences outside of class

F May 3         Revision workshop

                        Revised piece due, 4 copies

                        Individual final conferences outside of class


Final reading and portfolio due date: Friday, May 10, 12-2:30, St Jo G102


Disclaimer: This schedule is approximate and may vary based on the needs of the class. Workshop courses in particular need frequent adjustments depending on the discussions the written work generates.


6.  REQUIRED TEXT        

·     Burroway, Janet. Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft. 4thed. New York: Penguin, 2014. Print.

·     Photocopies of creative works for classmates 

·     A journal to record ideas, images, interesting thoughts, overheard conversations, etc. that         might be material for a creative piece