English 251: Introduction to Creative Writing: Exploring the Genres
Instructor: Bryan Fry
Office: Avery 371
Office Hours: MWF 12:00-1:00 p.m.


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Course Syllabus


Course Overview:

This is an introductory writing course that focuses on the craft of three major literary genres: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.  We will analyze and attempt to come to grips with the voice, style, and overall craft of an array of contemporary poets and writers. Additionally, students will keep a journal of their own writing which they will turn in periodically throughout the semester. This journal should serve as a place to record “triggering” thoughts as well as in-class writing prompts. Periodically, students will also type out a poem or 1-2 pages of prose and bring extra copies to class for workshop. By the end of the semester, students will hand in a portfolio of revised work along with a letter that describes their revision process and vision as a writer.

I will offer my thoughts on writing this semester; however, my hope is that students will gain an insight that enables them to thrive outside of class. By the end of this course, students should have collected the vocabulary to coherently speak about writing as well as the vision of their own craft.

 
Required Material:
    • Heather Sellers, The Practice of Creative Writing
    • A writing journal
    • A three-ring binder 

Major Requirements:
 

Journals (25 %):  My first poetry teacher once said, “Every writer must have a good bug collection.” I understand this more and more as I study my own writing and learn what does and does not trigger a good poem or piece of prose. Though some writers keep a good collection in their memory, most have to record their initial ideas in a journal. Throughout this semester, I would like you to experiment with a journal. You can use this journal to take notes and respond to readings; however, I would like to see a large portion devoted to your own writing as well as responses to weekly writing exercises.

Homework (25%): Sometimes I will ask you to complete a writing prompt based on one of our class discussions; other times you will have to prepare work for a writing workshop. Please make sure to read our schedule carefully and turn in work when it is due. I will not accept late work.

Participation (25%):  Each week I will assign you a participation grade that reflects how involved you are in the class. This includes being prepared (bringing your books, journals, and a three ringed binder with class readings) as well as participating in discussion. Your participation grade will be the average of these grades.

Portfolio (25%): Revising (or rewriting) is a major part of the writing process; creative writing is no exception. Therefore, I expect to see you progress as a writer in this class. The best way to show me this progression is through your portfolio which you will hand in at the end of the semester. In order for me to see your transformation as a writer, you will provide a sample of two genres (poetry, fiction, or nonfiction) along with any rough drafts and a letter of reflection. This letter is perhaps the most important part of the portfolio; you will have to explain your revision process and vision as a writer in 4-6 pages.


Regular Attendance:

Because of the amount of group collaboration, attendance for this class is crucial. Students are allowed three unexcused absences without penalty. For each of the next three unexcused absences, I will deduct 5% of the final grade. After six absences, students will receive an F in the course. Every three tardies equals an absence.


Students with Disabilities:

Reasonable accommondations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and may need accomodations to fully participate in this class, please visit the Disability Resource Center (DRC). All accomadations MUST be approved through the DRC (Washington Building, Room 217). Please stop by or call 509-335-3417 to make an appointment with a disability specialist.



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