EN311 Creative Writing

for FA 2011

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


EN 311 Creative Writing


FA 2011 HO


Shawver, Brian


Associate Professor


B.A. in English, University of Kansas
M.F.A. in Creative Writing, University of Iowa

Office Location

319 Copley

Office Hours

MW: 1:15-3; TR: 10-12

Daytime Phone

816 584-6474



Class Days


Class Time

3:00 - 4:15 PM

Credit Hours


Burroway, Janet. Imaginative Writing, 3rd edition.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.

Course Description:
EN311 Creative Writing: Practice in various forms of imaginative writing,particularly prose fiction and drama, and lyric and narrative poetry. May be repeated with permission of instructor. Recommended prerequisite: one or more literature courses. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

“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 the creative writing of someone else.

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 is required to produce moving, provocative narratives and poems. We’ll spend some time in peer-review workshops, but we’ll also write many exercises; explore the technical aspects of rhyme, meter, and dramatic structure; 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 hard.


Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Compose creative works that indicate an understanding of the fundamental elements of literary and dramatic narrative and poetic composition
  2. Employ a writing style that shows control of tone, grammar, diction, and figurative language
  3. Improve creative work by undergoing a revision process that incorporates peer and instructor feedback

Core Assessment:

The Core Assessment Instrument will take the form of a portfolio that is handed in during the last week of the semester. The portfolio will include copies of the original three writing assignments the student handed in during weeks four, nine, and fourteen, along with a revised version of each of these assignments. The portfolio will also contain a reflective essay that examines the changes between the drafts; the technical and artistic reasons these changes were made; the extent to which the changes were prompted by outside feedback; and whether and how the revised drafts represent an improvement over the originals.  This assessment is designed to assess primarily Core Learning Outcomes 1, 2, and 3, and will make up 40% of the course grade.

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

Your work will be evaluated based on six components: participation, one short story draft, one scene draft/presentation, five poetry drafts, peer evaluations, and the final portfolio.


Participation                                                                                                     100 points

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, write and share in-class exercises, and in general exhibit a respect for classmates, the instructor, and the material.

Short Story Draft                                                                                              100 points

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/Presentation                                                                          100 points

You will write a dramatic scene that will eventually be performed and discussed in class.

Poetry Drafts                                                                                                    100 points

You will write and revise a small portfolio of five poems that will be discussed in class.

Evaluations                                                                                                      100 points

You will write a critical evaluation of every story, poetry portfolio, and dramatic presentation that are presented to class.

Final Portfolio:                                                                                                  300 points

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. 


Participation                                                                                                     100 points

Short Story Draft                                                                                              100 points

Dramatic Scene/Presentation                                                                           100 points

Poetry Drafts                                                                                                    100 points

Evaluations                                                                                                      100 points

Final Portfolio:                                                                                                  300 points

TOTAL COURSE POINTS:                                                                                   800 points

Late Submission of Course Materials:

The policy for late work is pretty straightforward: if you don’t turn in an assignment at the exact deadline, you may turn it in late for half credit (an assignment graded as a 94, for example, would get a 47). After one week has passed from the moment of the deadline, however, you may no longer turn in the work.

The late work policy does NOT apply to work that is completed in class. If you are absent from a class period in which we do an in-class exercise, dramatic presentation, 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 generous.

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 before class begins. 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

This is a rough outline of what we’ll be doing throughout the semester.

8/15:    Introduction to the subject, Burroway reading

8/17:    Begin poetry section—overview

8/22:    Poetry—forms and prosody

8/24:    Poetry—forms and prosody continued

8/29:    Poetry—metaphor

8/31:   Poetry—free verse and technique

9/5:      NO CLASS—Labor Day

9/7:      Poetry—free verse and technique continued

9/12:    Poetry—workshops

9/14:    Poetry—workshops

9/19:    Poetry—workshops  

9/21:    Make-Up Day

9/26:    Begin Fiction—Overview  

9/28:    Fiction—Point of View

10/3:    Fiction—Character

10/5:    Fiction— Dialogue

10/10: NO CLASS—Fall Break

10/12:  NO CLASS—Fall Break

10/17: Fiction—Plot and Story

10/19: Fiction—Plot and Story continued

10/24:  Fiction—Theme and Meaning  

10/26: Fiction—Language and Revision

10/31: Fiction—Workshops

11/2:    Fiction—Workshops

11/7:  Fiction—Workshops

11/9: Make-Up Day

11/14: Begin Drama—Overview

11/16: Drama—possibilities and limitations

11/21: Drama—conventions and techniques

11/23: Drama—conventions and techniques continued

11/28: Drama presentations

11/30: Drama presentations

12/5:    Portfolio work

12/7:    Final things—portfolios do

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96
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. Students who are chronically late to class will also lose participation points.

You are marked absent if you are not in class when I take attendance, which usually happens about a minute or two after the hour begins. If you arrive after attendance has been taken, it is your responsibility to come up to me after class and ask me to mark you as tardy, rather than absent. If you do not do this, you will be counted as absent.

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). Ideally, you'll be able to contact a class member who can fill you in. If you need to contact me to ask, please make your questions very specific (“Could you tell me what book to bring, and what story I should read for Wednesday's class?” rather than “So what did I miss?”). Also, keep in mind that I may not answer right away—I generally will respond to e-mails within 24 hours.

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 .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
Core Learning Outcome #1                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Compose creative works that indicate an understanding of the fundamental elements of literary and dramatic narrative and poetic composition                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Creative works in all three genres employ almost all of the fundamental techniques, conventions and structures examined in class Creative works in all three genres employ many of the fundamental techniques, conventions and structures examined in class Creative works in all three genres employ few of the techniques, conventions, and structures examined in class; or creative work from one of the three genres is particularly deficient in this regard  
Core Learning Outcome #2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Employ a writing style that shows control of tone, grammar, diction, and figurative language                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Writing style indicates a consistently high degree of control over tone, grammar, diction, and figurative language Writing style indicates a moderate and consistent degree of control over most elements of language usage Writing style indicates poor and/or sporadic control over most elements of language usage, including tone, grammar, diction, and figurative language  
Core Learning Outcome #3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Improve creative work by undergoing a revision process that incorporates peer and instructor feedback                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
Drafts and revisions provide extensive evidence of a thorough and objective evaluation process, and reflective essay indicates complex reasoning in the incorporation of feedback Drafts and revisions provide some evidence of a thorough and objective evaluation process, and reflective essay describes the process of incorporating feedback Drafts and revisions provide little evidence of a thorough and objective evaluation process, and reflective essay fails to describe the process of incorporating feedback  


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Last Updated:8/10/2011 9:18:35 PM