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The Art of Narrative Science

ENVS 301
Spring 2020
Section: 01  
Certificates: Environmental Studies, Environmental Studies Minor

There is neither conflict nor antagonism between the realms of art and science. Indeed, the two infinitely complement and complete one another in ways so intimate, intricate, and oft-times invisible that only great storytelling, artful narrative, can fully reveal them. A poet, through metaphor, builds bridges from entangled inscapes of thought and emotion to a place of shared understanding. A good narrative science writer must do the equivalent with the often recondite minutia of modern scientific exploration, and do so with ever-increasing urgency as new discoveries and insights mount daily across a broad array of disciplines.

As we'll be highlighting in our course readings, writing assignments, and class discussion, all the key tenets of good storytelling are at play in effective narrative science writing: voice, point of view, narrative arc, dramatic tension, setting and scenes, characters, action, and dialogue. Science, in this sense, is incidental to this course's primary concern. The singular challenge that science does pose to writers, however, is how not to be cowed and/or overwhelmed by the daunting complexities of the subject matter; how to, through your own powers of observation, accrued research, and fearless, persistent questioning, own the material in such a way that frees you to imaginatively represent it again to the lay reader as story.

In this course students will learn:
1) How to read effective creative nonfiction about scientific subjects and understand what techniques different writers use to achieve both clear and compelling narratives.
2) How to choose the subjects they'd like to write a story about and how to compose a proposal describing that story to prospective editors at a variety of different publications.
3) How to compile research and conduct interviews for their stories.
4) How to construct the story itself using all the techniques of effective storytelling in feature-length narratives.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENVS
Course Format: DiscussionGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ENVS-MN)(ENVS)
Past Enrollment Probability: 90% or above

Last Updated on JUN-12-2024
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