Place, Character, and Design: Techniques in Writing Nonfiction and Fiction
Spring 2023 not offered
The distinction between creative nonfiction and fiction is that nonfiction professes to tell the truth with very little embellishment. Rather than present reality as a series of raw facts, CNF writers borrow techniques of fiction writing--description, anecdote, scene construction, characterization, and dialogue--to tell dynamic and compelling true stories. In this course we will investigate craft aspects that are relevant in nonfiction and fiction such as establishing characters and a narrator's voice, building the spatial world and emotional tone of the narrative, and using structure to communicate what we want to say with the story or essay. This course will explore topics to help writers mine their lives and experiences for material in both genres. We will emphasize reading, writing, and critical thinking about narrative craft, operating on the philosophy that you must become a skilled critical reader to become a better writer. Students will study the work of a diverse range of established writers, respond to weekly writing prompts and exercises, and participate in several small group workshops leading to a longer narrative along with developing a writing habit founded on the knowledge that, as with any skill, good writing requires consistent practice and revision.
|Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Discussion
|Grading Mode: Student Option
|Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CWRC)(ENGL)(ENGL-Creative W)(ENGL-Literature)
Selections from collections of Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, Best Travel Writing, and
The Art of the Personal Essay, as well as pieces by a broad mix of writers including Chekhov, Annie Dillard, and Virginia Woolf, and Vivian Gornick.
|Examinations and Assignments:
Short exercises and revision, leading to a longer project. There are several short fiction assignments, but the main focus is on nonfiction: memoir forms, narrative or personal essay, short profile, character sketch, braided essays, travel pieces.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments:
Contributes to fulfillment of ENGL major requirements:
Class of 22: class of 22: Techniques or Special Topic course or genre-focused course in the CW concentration, Theory and Literary Forms concentration, elective.
Class of 23 and beyond: CW requirement, CW path course (but not 300-level course or upper-level workshop), elective.
The English department highly recommends that students be enrolled in only one CW course in a semester. If you are admitted to more than one CW course, the department requests that you choose one and let the instructors know during Adjustment Period. By doing so you will be considerate of instructors and other students.
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