Approved by Faculty Senate

University Studies Course Approval

 

 

 

Department or Program English
Course Number 222
Semester Hours 3
Frequency of Offering every year
Course Title Introduction to Creative Writing
Catalog Description An introduction to writing poetry, fiction, and other creative genres (may include drama, screenwriting, or creative non-fiction). Covers basics of genre, style, and voice. Prerequisites: English 111. Offered yearly.
This is an existing course previously approved by A2C2: No
This is a new course proposal: Yes
(If this is a new course proposal, the WSU Curriculum Approval Form must also be completed as in the process prescribed by WSU Regulation 3-4) (see attached)
Proposal Category: Arts & Science Core/Fine & Performing Arts
Departmental Contact: Gary Eddy, Professor
Email Address: geddy@winona.edu

 

 

 

English 222

Introduction to Creative Writing— 3 s.h.

A University Studies Arts & Science Core / Fine and Performing Arts Course

Proposal and Rationale

Catalog Description

An introduction to writing poetry, fiction and other creative genres (may include drama, screenwriting, or creative non-fiction). Covers basics of genre, style, and voice. Prerequisites: English 111. Offered yearly.

 

General Course Information

English 222, Introduction to Creative Writing is an elective designed for Fine and Performing Arts credit in the WSU University Studies program. Courses in the Fine and Performing Arts area of the University Studies program offer opportunities for creative expression. These courses, which have a significant experiential/ studio component, introduce the student to the creative process. They develop basic skills and aesthetic awareness in tandem with a fundamental understanding of artistic traditions and contemporary expressions. To that end, this course will familiarize students with the fundamental principles of both appreciating and creating literary works. This course includes requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to...

  1. explore the language, skills, and materials of an artistic discipline; specifically, to provide students with familiarity with literary genres and the language, skills, and materials of creative writing.
  2. use the methods of an arts practitioner to actively engage in creative processes or interpretive performances;
  3. support students’ understanding of the cultural and gender contexts of artistic expression; and
  4. engage in reflective analysis of their own art work or interpretive performance and respond to the works of others.

 

Rationale

  1. Students will explore the language, skills, and materials of an artistic discipline.
  2. Students will study the basic features of literary genres, read texts that will serve as defining for their study or as models for works they will themselves complete. They will apply this learning to their own writing as part of the creative process and to the works of others in a workshop setting. The workshop may take place in-class and/or on-line. The class will make use of a range of exercises for each of three literary genres the instruct selects (from poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, drama, screen- and teleplay writing). Through this tangible practice and creative work students will become familiar with their own artistic processes, the skills required of the creative writer, and the materials available to writers. Please see the attached list of writing exercises for examples.

  3. Students will use the methods of an arts practitioner to actively engage in creative processes or interpretive performances.
  4. Students will produce original work, either from prompts like instructor-designed or textbook-provided exercises or from more individualized inspiration. Students will then receive critical response from the instructor and/or other students. They will then engage in the revision stage of writing, using the feedback of others as a guide for successful creative work. The work may then be submitted to a workshop process in which the class as a whole can respond to the work and, as needed, suggest areas for future revision. At the end of the course, students will prepare portfolios of their revised writing, representing their accomplishment of the three genres the instructor has selected for that particular section of the course. Students may be expected to perform their work in class or at a more public forum such as a local venue for the presentation of creative writing: a reader’s theater, a coffeehouse, an on-campus reading, etc.

  5. Students will understand the cultural and gender contexts of artistic expression.
  6. Students will produce a wide range of texts in the course. They will also read widely in contemporary literature. In this way, students will become conversant with many approaches, values, ideologies, and innovations that form the cultural context of creative writing today. In ways unique to creative writing, students will also be asked to write texts from points-of-view other than their own. They may be asked to cross lines of gender, race, and class to explore the social and artistic contexts of characters or poetic speakers of their own creation. These works will then be revised after comment from the instructor and presented in a workshop, at which time other students and the instructor will be able to comment on the verisimilitude, or reality-effect, of the student’s creative effort. In this way, with student work as its centerpiece, the class will concretely explore the cultural and gender contexts of contemporary artistic expression in the literary arts.

  7. Students will engage in reflective analysis of their own art work or interpretive performance and respond to the works of others.

As outlined above, students in this course will do two kinds of reading: analyzing the work of professionals as models, as resources for new writing, and as examples of successful creative writing; and analyzing the work of their peers for its effectiveness, innovation, and value. The reflective analysis component of the course is central, both to students’ own learning processes and to the traditional (and innovative) pedagogy of creative writing. This reflective component asks students to apply their learning and experience in a forum that honors and promotes the creation of new artistic works. This reflective stage is also very important to the students’ growth as artistic practitioners whose work is, ultimately, to some degree or other, public, critical, and reflective. Students will be introduced to the language, atmosphere, and manners of the workshop setting and of the critical climate in which creative writing is read and evaluated.

English 222

Introduction to Creative Writing— 3 s.h.

A University Studies Arts & Science Core / Fine and Performing Arts Course

General Course Information

Catalog Description

An introduction to writing poetry, fiction and other creative genres (may include drama, screenwriting, or creative non-fiction). Covers basics of genre, style, and voice. Prerequisites: English 111. Offered yearly.

 

General Course Information

English 222, Introduction to Creative Writing is an elective designed for Fine and Performing Arts credit in the WSU University Studies program. Courses in the Fine and Performing Arts area of the University Studies program offer opportunities for creative expression. These courses, which have a significant experiential/ studio component, introduce the student to the creative process. They develop basic skills and aesthetic awareness in tandem with a fundamental understanding of artistic traditions and contemporary expressions. To that end, this course will familiarize students with the fundamental principles of both appreciating and creating literary works. This course includes requirements and learning activities that promote students’ abilities to...

  1. explore the language, skills, and materials of an artistic discipline; specifically, to provide students with familiarity with literary genres and the language, skills, and materials of creative writing.
  2. use the methods of an arts practitioner to actively engage in creative processes or interpretive performances;
  3. support students’ understanding of the cultural and gender contexts of artistic expression; and
  4. engage in reflective analysis of their own art work or interpretive performance and respond to the works of others.

In addition, this course addresses the following English Department goals: bulletStudents should have the experience of reading texts drawn from the full diversity of literary periods and genres, written by authors representing the full range of social ethnic, and national origins that have shaped English literature...including the writing of their fellow students. bulletStudents should practice writing in several modes and for different audiences and purposes.

 

As class requirements and activities are discussed and listed below, they will refer to objectives in the above list by letter.

 

Texts and Supplies (vary slightly from instructor to instructor)

Texts may be selected from this list and/or supplemented by genre-specific texts. bulletOstrom, Hans, Wendy Bishop, and Katherine Haake. Metro: Journeys into Writing Creatively. bulletMinot, Stephen. Three Genres. bulletGoldberg, Natalie. Writing Down the Bones. bulletPerkins and Perkins. Contemporary American Literature.

 

Instructional Plan and Methodology

This course will focus on three pedagogical styles and strategies: active learning (exercises, peer review); the workshop model of teaching; and portfolio assessment. There will necessarily be some introduction to the genres students will be writing, but this will be supplemented by reading--modeling, analysis, critique--that will assist students in developing their own individual voice and style as well as prepare them for their own writing. There will be, therefore, extensive discussion in the course aimed at student questions and writing projects. The use of exercises is aimed at getting students to practice a variety of activities and styles as they create their own original work. The workshop model allows students to have their work critiqued by others in a semi-public forum by other novice practitioners and guided by the instructor. This model is one that prospective teachers may find valuable in their careers. Finally, students will produce a portfolio that allows them to both assess and demonstrate their progress throughout the course. The works from this class may be included in their own departmental or professional portfolios.

 

 

Course Requirements bulletSeveral exercises in each genre evaluated on their creativity and application of the principles of composition discussed in class. bulletA portfolio of revised fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. While individual instructors may adjust the number of assignments for their own sections of this course, the portfolio will demonstrate substantial student achievement and multiple texts in all three genres. The primary assessment criteria will be:

a) application of techniques and principles discussed in the course;

b) participation in workshops and peer review;

c) evidence of substantial revision of portfolio pieces; and

d) evidence of student growth and improvement.

 

 

Course Outline (will address 3 of the following genres)

  1. Introduction to Fiction Writing (Weeks 1-4)
    1. Dynamics of short fiction and novel (a)
    2. Realism in prose (a)
        1. Techniques: setting, dialog, characterization, plot (a)
        2. Exercises due each class period (a)
        3. Peer-review of stories in small groups or on-line (a, c, d)
        4. Workshop/Reading (a, c, d)
  2. Introduction to Poetry Writing (Weeks 5-9)
    1. Formal poetry (a)
    2. Free verse (a)
    3. Form and content (a)
    4. Techniques: imagery, lining, titles/endings, symbolism (a, b)
        1. Exercises due each class period (a)
        2. Peer-review of poems in small groups or on-line (a, c, d)
        3. Workshop/Reading (a, c, d)
  3. Introduction to Creative Prose (non-fiction) (Weeks 10-14)
    1. Fiction, Non-fiction, and The Essay (a)
    2. Personal and Universal (a)
        1. Techniques (a)
        2. Exercises (a)
        3. Peer-review of stories (a, c, d)
        4. Workshop (a, c, d)

    Week 15: Presentation of portfolios, public (or semi-public) performance. (Goals a, b, c, d)

    Note: In addition to the above genres, individual instructors may choose to include the following genres in supplement to or in place of the three listed above:

  4. Introduction to Screenplay/Teleplay Writing
    1. Cinematic Strategies
    2. Dialog and Image
        1. Techniques
        2. Exercises
        3. Peer-review of screenplays/teleplays
        4. Workshop
  5. Introduction to Writing Drama
    1. Plotting and Dialog
    2. Spectacle
        1. Techniques
        2. Exercises
        3. Peer-review of screenplays/teleplays
        4. Workshop

 

 

Course Policies

Attendance: Two unexcused absences=loss of one letter grade. Much of the value of having a class in poetry writing is the workshop/group work that occurs during every meeting. An excellent writer who doesn’t share her insights with others is only doing average work. Besides, there is no map for good creative writing, you need to listen to others.

Late assignments: "But the muse doesn’t always arrive on schedule." But the writer works hard and continually and always has work when it’s due. Grade penalties: one letter per class period. I also do not devote much time to commenting on late work.

Reading Assignments and Presentations: We have excellent texts. Not reading them and considering the wisdom they offer is the best way to handicap your success as a writer. Much of class time is devoted to the texts, so, to be prepared, read them. You will also give 2 presentations (1)on poems or stories you have found in the text that are not otherwise covered in class and (2) on a contemporary American writer. You may give 1 on-line. (a, d)

Drafts: One to three due weekly. These are rough, sometimes fragmentary, versions of what may (will?) become poems, stories, or plays. They may come from exercises, but they are at least greatly revised versions of exercises (in other words they can’t count twice. and I will comment on them based on their promise and on the amount and quality of work they reflect. No napkins, matchbooks, etc. Drafts, too, will be typed. As a general rule, I will simply record the number. (b)

Exercises: There is one due for each class. See attached sheet.

Poems, Stories, Scenes: These will be submitted to the class for small group discussion, on-line workshop or in-class workshop. We will discuss submission schedule in class. Expect one per week. (b)

Journals: Keep a reading/writing journal. A good journal will improve your writing and offer you an opportunity to explore your work and the work of others in greater depth. Show me your journal at the conferences. ***Keep everything. I will collect a portfolio of your work at the end of the last class. (a, b, c, d)

The Final Grade:

Journal (incl. exercises) 40%

Portfolio: 50%

Presentations/Workshop: 10%

Attendance 10% (above all, either way)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

English 222

Introduction to Creative Writing— 3 s.h.

A University Studies Arts & Science Core / Fine and Performing Arts Course

Course Activities

Poetry Exercises

The Half-hour Exercise. To be completed each week and recorded in your journal:

Once a week, spend at least one half-hour absolutely alone and in silence. Find a pleasant comfortable place, sit down, and shut up. Or go for a walk somewhere where you are unlikely to be disturbed or meet friends. No music, no pets, no tv, no books, no pencil, no paper. Alone.

A half-hour of silence is not easy for most of us, but it is essential to opening ourselves to surroundings, to new thoughts, to imagination. Try not to plan this as time to think about the latest poem (or, worse yet, to plan essays for other courses--ugh). Observe your surroundings, be they your bedroom or a coffeeshop or a park, and let one thought lead to the next.

At the end of the time, set down in your journal those lines, sense impressions, ideas, thoughts, images, etc. that stick with you. That is all.

  1. Write a poem-like thing that includes EACH of the following: a mammal, an unusual place, a form of water, weather, an ancestor, a body part, a plant, and one thing you never question as true.
  2. Choose ONE of the following lines to start a poem. Write as fast and wildly as you can:
  3. --She is the laundress of fish

    --When I will no longer be worth the rain to hang me

    --I was the white waterfall

    --I was tan when I met Solange

    When you’re done cut the line and see what you can do with what’s left.

  4. Dreamwriting: As soon as you wake up, write for ten minutes faster than you can. Make mistakes, do not edit or rethink, just write. Select the best lines or the things that surprised you and put them together however you choose.
  5. Write down your earliest childhood memory. A story is good, but a sensory impression is enough. Include as much detail as you can remember (or guess at or make up). Use it to end a poem that takes place BEFORE the memory.
  6. Go to an unfamiliar place and write down at least 6 sense impressions or objects that catch your attention. Then use all of them in a simple sequence of events (e.g., a man gets off a bus with a sack of groceries, stumbles, bag breaks).
  7. Look in the texts (or in the library) for a poet whose word choice is completely different from yours. List 20 words you would never use in a poem. Then write a poem at least 10 lines long that uses at least one per line.
  8. Choose one of the following as the start of a line. Repeat 20 times. Each line starts the same but ends differently.
  9. --Because --That was the year

    --I used to believe --I can still remember

    --If only --I want

  10. Write a word-count poem (or rewrite one of your old ones): the same number of words per line.
  11. Take a poem you’ve written recently and rewrite it in iambic pentameter, then in another meter (see the Adams book, esp. the chapter "Beyond Iambic Pentameter").
  12. A craft exercise: Copy-change. Copy a poem by hand. Change one key event or detail from the beginning and write a poem that uses the same formal features, sentence patterns, and key structure words ("After," "which," "when," "the," etc.). If you like the result, you’ll need to credit the author.
  13. Write a poem about movement (running, falling, climbing, dancing, etc.) and try to simulate the rhythm of the action using both word choice and line length (and rhyme if necessary).
  14. Write your autumn poem. No other rules apply.
  15. Think back on the most lowdown thing you’ve ever done or that was ever done to you (this way nobody else will know which). Change what you must to protect the innocent (or the guilty, if you feel you must). Write a first-person defense for doing such a despicable thing. The result may be moving or funny.
  16. Put lots of paper in front of you, set an alarm for 10 minutes. blindfold yourself, then write non-stop everything that comes into you head. If you feel stumped, write "next" until you come up with something new. Turn the results into a poem. Don’t worry about making much sense.
  17. What are the most beautiful or musical words you know? Indulge yourself. Write a poem using at least 10 of them (be sure to underline them for me).
  18. Take some experience or moment you enjoyed in the past 24 hours. Write it out as a clear prose narrative. Then dive into the sense images and rewrite it as a dream. You may wish to change the order of events. OR write a vivid dream as a perfectly normal and calm series of events.
  19. Invent a character: age, gender, race, religion, occupation, region, marital status, best and worst moments in their lives, etc. The speak in that person’s voice about the one event in life that made him or her turn out this way.
  20. Repeat the one exercise you liked best.

 

 

Fiction Exercises

In addition to the exercises in Gardner’s The Art of Fiction, here are some others to use as warm-ups for stories you’ve planned or as a way to keep your hands (and head) busy while you’re waiting for the light bulb to go on.

              1. Each of two characters has half of something that is no good without the other half. Neither wants to give up his or her half. Write a scene or a story.
      1. Write a short story that is a short story--conflict, crisis, resolution--in exactly one hundred words.
      2. Place a character in conflict with a natural force, anything from a mosquito to a hurricane. It need not be a fight for survival.
      3. Identify the kernel of a short story in any one of the following: first memory a dream yesterday your parents loss unfounded fear your body Write a paragraph of outline and start on a scene.
      4. Paint a self-portrait in words. prop a mirror in front of yourself and use the most focused visual details you can. Then distance yourself from that sketch and concentrate on the impression you want to leave with a reader. Add other senses to the description to convey that image.
      5. Write about a boring situation. Convince a reader that the situation is boring, or the characters, or both. Be fascinating or funny. Use no generalizations or judgments.
      6. Write about a character who starts at a standstill, works up to great speed, then comes to a halt. Let the rhythm of the prose reflect the changes.
      7. Write a short sketch of one of the following "types" making the character individual through detail. Make a reader sympathize or identify with him or her. Absent-minded professor, lazy laborer, rock band groupie, aging film star, domineering wife, hen-pecked husband, tyrannical boss, staggering drunk.
      8. Garbology: present a character or sequence of events by describing the contents of a garbage can or waste basket.
      9. Briefly describe a character who is as unlike you as is possible. Get inside his/her head: give a character a mental habit, desire, fear, love that you have. Make the character "good."
      10. Pick two contradictory qualities of your own personality. Make them into key features of two characters in a conflict. Make the characters radically different from yourself in age, race, gender, etc.
      11. Write a character sketch employing the four methods of character presentation: appearance, action, speech, thought. Use no authorial interpretation. Put one characteristic in conflict with other three.
      12. Write a scene in which a man questions a woman about her mother. Characterize all three. Turn it around: woman questions man on father.
      13. Write a scene set in the strangest place you’ve ever spent the night.
      14. Write a scene set in a familiar setting to you. Write it from the point of view of someone for whom it would be completely bizarre. Or a bizarre setting from the p.o.v. of someone who is comfortable there.
      15. Write a love scene, serious or comic, in limited omniscient p.o.v. using one of the lovers as central character. Make this character believe the other is in love with him/her but, through presenting action, demonstrate is not the case.

 

 

English 222

Introduction to Creative Writing— 3 s.h.

A University Studies Arts & Science Core / Fine and Performing Arts Course

Bibliography

Barbour, James. Writing the American Classics (North Carolina: The University of North Carolina Press, 1990).

Bloom. Lynn Z. Fact and Artifact: Writing Nonfiction (New York: HBJ, 1998)

Bolter, Jay David and Michael Joyce. "Hypertext and Creative Writing." Proceedings Hypertext '87. November 13-15, 1987, Chapel Hill, NC. New York: ACM, 1989. 41-50.

Card, Orson Scott. 1988. Characters & Viewpoint. Cincinnati, Oh: Writer's Digest Books.

Cha, Theresa Hak Kyung. Dictee. 1982, Berkeley: Third Woman Press. 1995.

Cixous, Helene. "Coming to Writing" and Other Essays. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991.

Dibell, Ansen. Plot. Cincinnati, Oh: Writer's Digest Books. 1988.

Elbow, Peter. Writing Without Teachers. New York: Oxford Univ. Press. 1973.

Friedman, Ellen G., and Miriam Fuchs, eds. Breaking the Sequence: Women's Experimental Fiction. Princeton: Princeton UP. 1989.

Gardner, John. The Art of Fiction.

Garvey, Mark, ed. 1999 Writer's Market. 1999. Cincinnati, Oh: Writer's Digest Books

Heilbrun, Carolyn G. Writing A Woman's Life. New York: Ballantine Books. 1988

Henry, Laurie. 1995. The Fiction Dictionary. Cincinnati, Oh: Story Press.

Joyce, Michael. Of Two Minds, Hypertext, Pedagogy, and Poetics. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press. 1995.

Kress, Nancy. 1993. Beginnings, Middles, & Ends. Cincinnati, Oh: Writer's Digest Books.

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird (New York: Pantheon Books, 1994).

Lewis, Turco. 1989. Dialogue. Cincinnati, Oh: Writer's Digest Books

Lewis, Turco. 1989. Theme & Strategy. Cincinnati, Oh: Writer's Digest Books

Lunsford, Andrea and Lisa Ede. Singular Texts/Plural Authors: Perspectives on Collaborative Writing. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press. 1990.

Novakovich, Josip. Fiction Writer's Workshop (Cincinnati, Ohio: Story Press, 1995).

Ocork, Shannon. How to Write Mysteries. 1989. Cincinnati, Oh: Writer's Digest Books

Page, Barbara. " Women Writers and the Resistive Text: Feminism, Experimental Writing and Hypertext <http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/pmc/issue.196/page.196.html>," Postmodern Culture, Web Journal, v.6 n.2 (January, 1996)

Plimpton, George. Writers at Work (New York: Penguin Group, 1985).

Retallack, Joan. ":re:thinking:literary:feminism: (three essays onto shaky grounds)." Feminist Measures: Soundings in Poetry and Theory. Eds. Lynn Keller and Christanne Miller. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P. 1994.

Robinson, Lou, and Camille Norton, eds. Resurgent: New Writing by Women. Urbana and Chicago: U of Illinois Press. 1992.

Steinberg, Sybil. Writing for your Life (New York: Pushcart, 1992).

Zinsser, William. On Writing Well (New York: Harper Perennial, 1994).