JCU Logo


COURSE NAME: "Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2017

INSTRUCTOR: George Minot
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 8:30-9:45AM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above

The course aims to develop the creative, editorial, and reading habits needed for the production of literary fiction; to develop self-editing skills; and to foster an aesthetic sensibility for use in writing literary fiction. Students will read both contemporary literary fiction and materials related to analyzing and editing literary fiction and participate in a traditional creative writing workshop through in-class writing exercises, reading classmates' fiction, and producing and workshopping their own fiction. Students will compile a portfolio of the work they produce during the term. Students completing this workshop course will be familiar with the skills needed to produce literary fiction, to self-edit work in progress, and to discern the characteristics that make quality literary fiction.

This course is about the writing process. Talking about the process, of course, but mainly and most importantly ACTUALLY WRITING. Commitment to the process, daily output, progress within the process, is the focus, more than the final result. The support system that grows up among the writers in the workshop can be a beautiful, powerful creative force: a kind of mutual momentum informs and frees up the always solitary and individual (but not always difficult!) writing process.

In the first week we choose what to work on, commit to. We talk about it - and make clear choices, set goals. Suggested reading pertains to the writing process, and can only enhance efforts, insights, technique, breakthroughs, discussions.

In the following weeks we share works in progress on a set rotating schedule. Work is submitted to all in the class - by email, and also printed-out copies are handed out in class out the day before the work is discussed. Students read and make notes in advance on each piece to be discussed. Participation in these class discussions is urged and required - the vital heart of the mutually generated workshop experience.

Each student will produce three finished pieces, two of which will be fully refined and polished or at any rate"done": completed.

Students will also demonstrate (partner plan) their daily agreed output - this daily output can be aside from the final work products (though certainly this will likely, mostly, include,  the stages or attempts or versions of the the finished pieces).







Student writers will learn their strengths and weaknesses as writers - and as readers and interlocutors.

Student writers will learn by experiencing full-on the rigorous discipline and vital necessity of a regular writing habit.

Student writers will learn to refine their insights and other thoughts on submitted pieces of fiction, as well as how to better understand and explain their gut reactions, by repeatedly exploring and identifying, in class discussion, the various technical (and also the more elusive) elements of "the fictive dream" --- what works, what doesn't work, and why.

Student writers will discover what it takes to be a "real writer" - and maybe whether or not he or she is, or could be, a writer, or really wants to be, or become, one.

Three completed pieces of fiction. Two of these fully finished. Also: 500 words a day.Of the three pieces workshopped, two will be completely finished. Degree of progress in the writing of each piece will matter as much as the "quality" of the final pieces. Daily output - 500 words a day - weighs as much as class discussion - participation, effort, development of extemporaneous critical ability and responsiveness. 75%
Class Participation 15%
500 Words a day 10%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the co
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

Attendance is required. Four absences allowed .
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Tuesday's and Thursdays 10-11:15

Session Session Focus Reading Assignment Other Assignment Meeting Place/Exam Dates
All Discussion of students' submissions. Optional 500 words per day Last class