Spring 2012 5:30-8:10 TR
Dr Vicki Ramirez Office Hours: T 12 PM-1PM Th 4-4:30
OBJECTIVES--The following objectives are followed by numbers linking
objectives to course requirements and grade points: In this workshop we'll
explore aspects of short story and novel writing to provide practical writing techniques, concrete examples, and
completing exercises for student writing. Through examining the
components of fiction and doing exercises designed to spur writing and
creativity, students will generate, and/or further develop, short stories or novel
chapters (1). To prepare for writing, students will read several model stories and a
novel in order to build a vocabulary for conceiving, plotting, and developing
narrative (1). We'll focus on various stages of the writing/publishing process,
and students will produce and revise two short stories of publishable
quality, or two polished chapters of a novel, or one story and one novel
chapter (2, 4).
To hone critical skills out of which quality fiction arises, students will write two essays based on our fiction texts (3), and offer a presentation on a book read out of class (6). As part of the process of writing and seeking publication of revised work, students will produce a query letter for a short story or a novel (5).
REQUIREMENTS: Weekly attendance at this workshop is mandatory. Students will read and annotate (main ideas; new ideas to you) all assigned stories and secondary materials, and come prepared to discuss these with assignments word processed. Students will choose a novel or short story collection from a class list to read and give a short (3-5 minute) presentation on. Two critical responses to primary reading (stories or novel), focusing on a narrow component of the work and linked to ideas in Burroway, will be due towards the beginning and end of the semester. The final class will be a public reading of a piece of fiction produced in the workshop. NB: Students with more than 3 unexcused absences will be in jeopardy of course failure. If you have an illness or a family crisis, etc., please contact me asap.
As this is a workshop class, students will be responsible for regularly downloading student stories or novel chapters, reading, annotating, and critiquing them. All marked mss. and critique forms are due at the start of each class, and I will check to see the work is done. Late papers can be submitted for a grade, but late homework cannot be submitted. To avoid lateness, please email me a copy, then submit a hard copy when next in class.
Submitting revised fiction for a grade: each student will submit a packet, one for each piece submitted, including the original draft, the polished draft, all readers' critiques (limit to representative ones for 1st submission), and a comprehensive yet concise monograph in which the author explains what got revised and why, and what were the major suggestions for improvement. Changes, additions, or editing out of copy should be in some way visually expressed. For example, use bold to show where you added in a sentence, etc. For deletion, place in parentheses that lines were cut, etc. Choose your own system for this, but make sure it is VERY EASY to understand . . . .
Writing Fiction, 8th Edition by Janet Burroway
The Writing Class by Jincy Willett
Cowboys Are My Weakness by Pam Houston
OTHER READINGS (handed out or on e-reserve)
From Crafting Fiction by Marvin Diogenes and Clyde Moneyhun
* "Notes on Writing a Novel" by Elizabeth Bowen
* "Scene and Summary" by Leon Surmelian
* "Revision" by Jesse Lee Kercheval
* "A Workshop for Writers: Invention and Revision" Guided Writing Exercises
**Fiction Writer's Workshop by Josip Novakovich
Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell
Writing Great Short Stories by Margaret Lucke
20 Master Plots and How To Build Them by Ronald B. Tobias
1 Class work =15 pts
-- writing journals
2 Two revised stories or chapters= @ 15 pts each=30 pts. (max each story 12 pages double spaced, 12 pt font)
3 Two critical pieces on The Writing Class and Cowboys Are My Weakness 15 pts each=30 pts
4 Marked student mss. & feedback forms=10 pts
5 Presentation on a short story collection or novel of choice=15 pts
GRADING BREAKDOWN: This is the spread for letter
grades based on 100 points:
A = 100-97 A- = 96-94 B+ = 93-91 B = 90-88 B- = 87-85 C+ = 84-82 (below C+ is a failing final grade) C = 81-79 C- = 78-76 D+ = 75
-73 D = 72-6
As specified in PPM 6-22 IV D, cheating and plagiarism violate the
Student Code. Plagiarism is "the
unacknowledged (uncited) use of any other person’s or group’s ideas or
work." Students found guilty of cheating or plagiarism are subject to
failure of a specific assignment, or, in more serious cases, failure of
the entire course.
CORE BELIEFS According to PPM 6-22 IV, students are to "[d]etermine
Rubric For Fiction/Creative Writing
Rubric for Grading Papers: When grading your papers I use the rubric below. A successful piece of fiction or creative essay follows professional formatting conventions. Thus, submissions must be typed/word processed in double‑spaced, 12 point, Times New Roman font with standard margins top and bottom.
Strong: "A"‑‑ Genuinely successful fiction contains elements that work towards expressing a central theme or the story=s meaning. In the case of essays, the theme is clear and permeates the piece. Setting is meaningful and dialogue is impactful, and help advance the essay/story=s theme/s. Plot moves the piece forward, while time elements such as flashbacks and flashforwards are clear and used to effect. Characters, both main and key secondary ones, are complex and are developed largely through showing instead of telling. Transitions between scenes and/or sections are smooth and clear. Pacing matches the action and story arc. Language and imagery are fresh, new, and suit the writer=s purpose, while avoiding clichéd and repetitive language. Diction in stories and narration in essays suits the intention of the piece, and spelling/grammar/punctuation follow MLA guidelines, and are consistent, effective, and correct for the work at hand.
Adequate: "B"B General elements in the piece reinforce a central theme or meaning, though the writing may contain elements that are not essential to progressing the essay/story=s meaning. For creative essays, the theme may need sharpening, but is generally clear. Setting and dialogue adequately advance plot or theme, but setting may include inessential elements, and dialogue may not always be dramatic or illustrative of character. Plot moves forward but may include elements that impede forward progression, or may contain unclear jumps in time and space, or lack adequate transitions. The plot may show a lack of conflict or tension, though generally it includes drama. Characters display some complexity, and are developed mostly through showing vs. telling. Language and imagery are generally strong but may at times seems uninspired, inexact, or overused. Diction may not entirely suit the piece, and irregularities in spelling/grammar/punctuation may permeate the writing.
Emerging: "C"B Parts or elements in the essay/story do not cohere to the main theme or meaning Both story and essay may lack either a strong narrative element or theme. Setting may be too excessive or wordy, and dialogue may be overused, lack a dramatic component, or inappropriately explicate plot. Plot may not move forward due to digressions or pacing issues, and flashbacks/flashforwards may lack clear transitions and confuse. The piece itself may lack any real element of tension, or climax.. Characters may seem mostly flat, including main protagonists, and are portrayed through description and explanation instead of through behavior. Transitions between scenes or sections may seem choppy or confusing. Language may appear overworn, incorrectly used, or inadequate for the job at hand, with clichéd images. The level of diction does not suit the intention of the piece, displays regular incorrect and inconsistent spelling/grammar/ and punctuation, and formatting.
Emerging: “D”—The story in general does not cohere of contain a main theme. The plot may contain inconsistencies, or lack forward progression, or the narrative confuses. Setting is either too detailed and bogs down the story, or too scant, so readers cannot sense the “world” of the action. Scenes are told, not shown. Transitions may not exist, or be inadequate to cause confusion. A genuine sense of conflict or tension is lacking, and there may appear to be no climax. Characters are under-developed, seeming flat and mostly described by narrator, their actions/thinking not shown. The diction level may not match the story genre, dialogue may be overdone, and the writing shows that it requires further work and honing. Mechanical and spelling/grammar/punctuation error abound, making the reading difficult. This paper shows a very early draft, one that needs considerable work in all areas.