EN 311 Creative Writing
FA 2010 HO
Associate Professor of English
M.F.A., Creative Writing-Fiction, University of IowaB.A., English, University of Kansas
MWF 10-12; TR 1-2
8/16 to 12/10
3:00 - 4:15 PM
Textbook: Thiel, Diane. Crossroads: Creative Writing Exercises in Four Genres. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2005.
Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore
Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore
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“Creative Writing” is a not a very specific name for a
course; after all, most classes in the English department can be said to deal
with writing that is creative. Essays you write in a composition or technical
writing class can involve just as much imagination and creativity as a novel or
poem, and when we study works in a literature class we’re looking, naturally,
at someone else’s creative writing.
But in an academic sense, the phrase “creative writing” has
come to mean the study of how to create imaginative works of literature such as
poems, short stories, and plays, and that’s certainly the project we’ll engage
in throughout the semester. To do this, we’ll have to reject the insidious myth
of the writer as a romantic genius, inspired only by the muse, and instead look
at all the hard work that separates true artists from dilettantes. We’ll spend
some time in peer-review workshops, but we’ll also write a lot of exercises,
analyze a number of published works, and have complex discussions about the nature
of art. It’s a truly engaging subject that offers a multitude of rewards, and
to fully exploit its potential, everyone in the class will have to work very
Learning Outcomes: Core Learning Outcomes
Link to Class RubricClass Assessment:
Your work will be evaluated based on six components:
participation, journal work, one short story draft, one scene draft, five poetry drafts, and
the final portfolio, which includes the revised versions of all the drafts plus
an essay analyzing your progress and end results.
Every student will be expected to attend class regularly,
participate in discussion, offer concrete and constructive advice during workshops,
bring the required books and materials to class, and in general exhibit a
respect for classmates, instructor, and the material.
Journal Work 100
Many different assignments will be included in your journal: responses to readings, evaluations of classmates' work, in-class exercises, pre-writing assignments, etc. We won’t have a set number of them, but at least once a week you'll do something in your journal that will contribute points to this element of
Short Story Draft 100
You will turn in a draft of a short story that is no longer
than ten pages and no shorter than four. This is not a rough draft, but one
that you believe is ready to be shared with the class (because it will be).
Dramatic Scene Draft 100
You will turn in a draft of a dramatic scene that seeks to
accomplish a specific set of goals that you have previously identified in a
scene proposal (which will be a part of the grade). The scene will be acted out
and discussed in class.
Poetry Drafts 100
You will turn in five poems that will be discussed in small
Final Portfolio: 500
Throughout the semester you will be receiving feedback from
your peers and your classmates about the work you present. Your portfolio will
include the final versions of these creative works, versions that will
presumably incorporate some of the critiques and suggestions you’ve heard. The
portfolio will also include all previous drafts of the work for comparative
purposes, although the final version is the one that will be graded more
specifically. You will also include in the portfolio an essay that explains
your composition and revision processes, and that evaluates your progress as a
writer throughout the semester. This should be an ongoing process throughout
the semester—you should be working on the revision of your work as soon as you
get feedback on it, and perhaps even earlier.
Late Submission of Course Materials:
The policy for late work is pretty straightforward: if you
don’t turn in an assignment on the day of the deadline, you may turn it in at
the beginning of the following class period for half credit (an assignment that
was graded as a 94, for example, would get a 47). No assignments can be turned
in later than that. This is NOT true, however, for work that is entirely completed in class. If you are absent from a class period in which we take a quiz, do an in-class exercise, etc., you can't make up that work.
Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Creative writing classes require students to exhibit a good
deal of respect and open-mindedness. Every student will be expected to offer
serious, considered opinions, and to do so in a way that is constructive and
Any electronic device that is brought into the classroom
must be turned off before class begins (class begins when I walk into the room,
not when I ask you to turn off your phones). If you need to have a device on
for the reasons of disability or health, or if you need to have your phone
available because you’re expecting an urgent call, please discuss it with me outside
This is a rough outline of what we’ll be doing throughout
the semester. It is very likely to change, depending on the pace we establish,
so don’t refer to it as the ultimately authority regarding what to read or
bring to class.
8/16: Introduction to the subject
8/18: Opening discussions and readings
8/23: Begin fiction section, overview
8/25: Fiction—character and detail
8/30: Fiction—plot and story
9/6: LABOR DAY
9/20-9/22: Mid-semester meetings
9/27: Begin Drama
9/29: Drama—conventions and foundations
10/4: Drama—dialogue and verisimilitude
10/6: Drama—tensions and propulsion
10/11-10/13: FALL BREAK
10/18: Drama—scene presentations
10/20: Drama—scene presentations
10/25: Drama—scene presentations
10/27: Drama—scene presentations
11/1: Begin Poetry
11/3: Poetry—language and metaphor
11/8: Poetry—development and cohesion
11/10: Poetry—examples and exercises
11/22: Portfolio meetings
11/24: Portfolio preparation, in-class meetings
11/29: Review, make-up day
12/1: Final discussion, portfolios due
Academic Honesty:Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
Plagiarism:Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93
Attendance Policy:Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96Some additional points about absences:
You can miss two class periods without having your participation grade affected. After that, each absence will take ten points off your total participation grade (out of a possible one hundred points). After your seventh absence, you are no longer eligible to pass, regardless of your point totals in other areas.
Excused absences will be determined on a case-by-case basis. They are rare, however, and usually involve things like hospital stays, funerals, et cetera, and they require documentation and advanced notice when possible.
When you miss a class, you have to find out how you should prepare for the next class (don't rely on the course outline--it will probably change). This can mean e-mailing me with questions. If you do this, you should keep the tone respectful; remember, you're asking for a favor, not receiving a birthright. You should also not ask for much--I don't have the time to give you a run-down of what we discussed in your absence; for that, you'll need to borrow notes from a classmate. Finally, you need to give me at least 24 hours to respond to your message.
Disability Guidelines:Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .
Last Updated:8/11/2010 8:26:15 PM