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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "CW 350"
COURSE NAME: "Creative Writing Workshop: Fiction "
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Elizabeth Geoghegan
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 4:30-5:45 PM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: EN 110 with a grade of C or above
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
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.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:

Classes move between writing workshops and peer reviews, traditional lectures, discussions of the assigned readings, in-class writing exercises and, when possible, occasional class outings to literary events around the city. Readings will correspond to the genres and topics covered and will help create a foundation for the writing assignments themselves. Dedicated to the philosophy that all writing benefits from careful critique and thoughtful revision, the workshops will help students develop critical thinking and editorial skills, while fostering an aesthetic sensibility about their own writing, the writing of their peers, and ultimately a more thorough understanding of the various components of literary fiction.

LEARNING OUTCOMES:
Students will be familiar with the writing techniques employed when generating ideas and producing their own works of fiction. Students will also have gained writing exposure to the editorial skills necessary to offer critique and self-edit, while taking their own work through various stages of revision. After completing this course, student will have gained exposure to fine examples of literary fiction and had an opportunity to develop their own voice as a writer, and gain both confidence and practical hands-on experience with the form
TEXTBOOK:
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
Gotham Writers' Workshop WRITING FICTION: A Practical GuideBloomsburyBloomsburyisbn 9781582343303 AVAILABLE AT ANGLO AMERICAN BOOKSHOP; no ebooks / digital copies allowed in class.
100 Years of Best American Short Storieseditors Lorrie Moore & Heidi PitlorHoughton Mifflin Harcourtisbn 0547485859 Available at ANGLO AMERICAN BOOKSHOP; no ebooks or digital copies allowed in class.
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
Final Fiction Portfolio This is the sum-total of the works of fiction produced in class, revised and submitted at the end of term. The exact assignments contained within the portfolios varies from semester to semester, but it is generally about 30 pages of prose fiction. Guidelines for specific assignments will be provided in class and posted on Moodle. 50%
Attendance & Participation See JCU attendance policy for classes that meet two times per week. Please note that students who are more than 15 minutes late may be counted as absent. 10%
Peer ReviewStudents are required to give written and oral feedback of the work submitted by their peers. Preparation for and participation in the peer reviews is required. 15%
Self editing, revision, and process analysis Editing one's own work is a crucial part of the fiction writing process. Submitted stories and assignments will all be revised over the course of the term. 15%
Homework, Presentations, and AssignmentsStudents will present close readings of assigned pieces, as well as produce written responses to the readings from class. These homework assignments will vary throughout the term. 10%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
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 course.
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 REQUIREMENTS:
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.
ACADEMIC HONESTY
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.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
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.

SCHEDULE

Dates

Reading Assignments & Homework

UNIT ONE: Exploring creative nonfiction, descriptive writing, and the Micro-Essay

Week One

Mon Jan. 21 – Class Intro

Buy textbooks (Anglo-American Book store) & a notebook for class; begin thinking about potential stories you might write. 

Wed Jan. 23

Discussion +

In class writing 

Read remaining snapshots + “Bullet in the Brain” (handout) by Tobias Woolf; be prepared to discuss

Week Two 

Mon Jan. 28
Discussion + In class writing 

Read “Brownies” (ZZ Packer) & “The Prophet from Jupiter” (Tony Earley) and be prepared to discuss. 

Wed Jan. 30

Read Ch 2. “Character” (Gotham, handout); work on snapshots (see guidelines)

Week Three

Mon Feb. 4

WORKSHOP

SNAPSHOTS due; bring copies for class

Wed Feb. 6

WORKSHOP

Workshop, continued. (Please read the remaining essays and be prepared to offer both written and oral critique to your colleagues.)

Week Four

Mon Feb. 11

UNIT TWO: The nuts and bolts of fiction; read Ch. 4 Point of View (Gotham) + “Cathedral”  (Carver, Gotham p. 271) & “Will You Please be Quiet Please?” ( Carver, BASS) – bring both texts to class

Wed Feb. 13

Read:  Ch. 8 Dialogue + “Hills Like White Elephants” (Hemingway, handout)  + 
“My Old Man” (Hemingway, BASS) 

Fri Feb. 15 makeup for  Easter Mon. April 22

Microfiction Due; see guidelines + bring copies for class

Week Five

Mon Feb. 18
WORKSHOP

Read and prepare written and oral critiques for workshop

Wed Feb. 20

Workshop

Read and prepare written and oral critiques for workshop

Week Six

Mon Feb. 25

WRITING LONGER STORIES: Read Ch. 3 “Plot” (Gotham) & “The Third and Final Continent” (Lahiri, BASS) – be prepared to discuss

Wed Feb. 27

Read Ch. 7  “Setting and Pacing” & “The Girl on the Plane” (Gaitskill, BASS) HW: each student should pick a paragraph and do a close reading that connects to either plot, setting, pacing, POV, or character development & be prepared to discuss/informally present

Week Seven

Mon. Mar 4

Read Ch. 5 Descripton (Gotham) + Sonny’s Blues (Baldwin, BASS) &  “Fiesta” (Diaz, BASS) & be prepared to discuss. Each student should select an image or descriptive passage that illustrates a key theme in both Baldwin’s and Diaz’s stories.

Wed. Mar 6

SHORT STORIES DUE; see guidelines + bring copies

Week Eight

Mar 11 & Mar 13

SPRING BREAK – prepare critiques
WORKSHOP ORDER TBD

Week Nine

Mon Mar 18

WORKSHOP

| Workshop: read & prepare written + oral critiques

Wed Mar 20

WORKSHOP

Workshop: read & prepare written + oral critiques

Week Ten

WORKSHOP

Workshop: read & prepare written + oral critiques

Weds Mar 27

Read Ch. 8 Voice (Gotham) + “Friend of My Youth” (Munro, BASS) + “At the Earth’s imagined corners” (Groff, BASS)

Week Eleven

Mon Apr 1

Read Ch. 9 Theme (Gotham) “IF you Sing Like That For Me” (Sharma, BASS)

Weds Apr 3

Workshop

SHORT STORIES DUE; see guidelines 
WORKSHOP ORDER TBD

Week Twelve

Mon Apr 8

Workshop

Workshop: read & prepare written + oral critiques 

Weds Apr 10

Workshop

Workshop: read & prepare written + oral critiques

Week Thirteen

Mon Apr 15

Read Ch. 10 Revision (Gotham) + “Babylon Revisited” (Fitzgerald, BASS)

Weds Apr 17

Read: “I Stand Here Ironing” (Olsen, Bass)

Week Fourteen

Mon Apr 22

NO CLASS

Weds Apr 24

TBA

Week Fifteen
Mon Apr 29

Final Portfolios DUE (Digital; see guidelines)

LAST CLASS

Weds May 1st

NO CLASS

Final Exam  

DATE TBD

No exam for this class; we will meet & read the final memoir pieces or any selection you choose and offer a final critique