Examines the craft of the emerging genre of creative non-fiction. Combines intensive study of published work with a workshop in which students critique each other's work. It is recommended that students complete at least one other writing or literature course before enrolling.
We will writing both personal essays, shorts, and feature articles. We will read and analyze a lot of creative non-fiction too, so that you become familiar with the genre. And, you'll be submitting your work to newspapers or magazines. There is a significant work load. If you're looking for an easy elective, this is not the course for you. If you want to challenge your writing skills and grow personally, this course will enable you to do both. It's a good course if you're thinking you want a career in journalism or public relations, or if you want to explore your life experiences through writing.
The class requires homework for every session--reading, analyzing readings, and writing. While it is not required to write about yourself, many students find that the genre of creative non-fiction allows revisiting of past experiences and exploring their significance. Other options for subject matter include profiles, researched feature articles, nature writing, etc. And you will be sharing your writing in class so that you can hear how your writing affects an audience and get feedback on ways to make it stronger.
Student learning goals
draft writing that demonstrates a facility with various techniques and approaches employed in creative non-fiction: for example, scene setting, character development, dialogue, appropriate use of outside sources, alternative structures (braided, segmented, etc.)
recognize the tradition of nonfiction writing and demonstrate an understanding of contemporary approaches to the craft of creative nonfiction
effectively manage the writing process from research, through drafting, through revision, incorporating peer and instructor feedback as appropriate
provide constructive feedback on others’ work as a result of 1) a developing sense of genre expectations and 2) learning to respond with honesty and diplomacy
General method of instruction
small group workshopping of essays, class discussion, in-class freewriting
at least one previous college level writing course is recommended. this course does not cover grammar. you should have the basics of clear writing mastered before taking this class
Class assignments and grading
memoir, profile, feature article, nature/philosophical essay, etc. For samples of this type of writing, see the creative non-fiction published in Tahoma West (the UWT literary magazine) or check out the website Brevity.com
fulfillment of genre requirements and assignment requirements as well as constructive participation in the classroom activities