ENGLISH 3200-01W INTERMEDIATE  CREATIVE WRITING:  FICTION
Fall 2008
TR 12:30-1:45
TLC 1204

Dr. Randy Hendricks
TLC 2223
678-839-4876
rhendric@westga.edu

Office Hours
TR 11:00-12:15; 2:00-3:15
Also available by appointment.

Overview:  Students in this course will improve their knowledge of and practice in the art of fiction first of all by writing and then by subjecting their writing to evaluation by the instructor and other members of the class.  Students are also expected to learn to read as writers read--with an eye for the techniques and effects an artist brings to his or her work.  

For course goals and relation of course to program, go to Course Guides and then click on ENGL 3200.

Text:  Oates, Joyce Carol, Telling Stories:  An Anthology for Writers

Requirements: a number of short writing assignments, one full fictional narrative carried through mulitple drafts, 3 formal critiques of narratives by other students in the class; two brief analytical papers, and a  porfolio collecting all of these assignments in multiple revisions  (80% of final grade), total participation (20% of final grade).

At the end of the semester, we will construct a course anthology comprised of your own original writing. The anthology, paid for by course fees, is part of a larger effort to establish creative writing as a vibrant campus community. If you enjoy this class, you might even think of the next step: a minor in creative writing. Established in 2004, the creative-writing minor continues to grow each year and is almost entirely responsible for the national success of our campus magazine, the Eclectic. Your course fees also help to fund UWG’s Reading Series, which brings national authors to campus each semester for readings of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Previous readers include Oprah Book Club author Wally Lamb, Pulitzer-prize winner Margaret Edson, PEN/Bernard Malamud Award winner Ann Beattie, Georgia Poet Laureate David Bottoms, Kingsley Tufts Award winner B. H.
Fairchild, and many others.

Some Policies, Expectations, and Other Important Information

Expectations:  The professional relationship between an instructor and a student is not that of vendor and consumer.  One does not buy learning the way one buys a car, a sound system, or a hamburger.  Tuition and state funding combine to buy professional direction and assistance to your own study as well as a fair and careful assessment of your progress.  It never buys the right not to attend class, to fail to complete assigned work, or to practice a radical individualism that distracts the instructor and classmates with impunity.  By agreeing to teach the class, I agree to provide the direction, assistance, and assessment.  By enrolling in the class, you have created obligations for yourself.  If you do not meet them, you will not succeed.

My basic assumption is that students are adults preparing to be professionals.  They should understand that the way they conduct business has a direct influence on their success in the class and other tangible if longer-term results (For example, you are not only completing the requirements for the courses you are currently taking, you are developing professional relationships with your instructors, who will in due course serve as your primary references as you seek admission to graduate schools, employment, or other types of professional or educational opportunities).

To be more specific, I expect students to come to each class meeting on time, prepared and ready to concentrate on the tasks at hand.  I further expect students to prepare all assignments with scrupulous attention to detail and directions by the stipulated deadlines.  And I tolerate no unprofessional distractions such as gum chewing, sleeping in class, using beepers or cell phones (either for incoming or outgoing calls).  Students who create such distractions will leave the class.

Deadline for Withdrawal:  The deadline for withdrawing from any class with a grade of W is October 8.  Students may withdraw from a class after that date only in the case of hardship.  Hardship withdrawals are determined in the office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, not by instructors or department chairs.  Students who are granted hardship withdrawals must withdraw from all their classes.

Compliance with Act regarding disabilities:
The instructor will make accommodations to meet special needs of students with documented disabilities.  It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor of any such need and to provide the appropriate documentation.

Department of English and Philosophy Plagiarism Policy
The Department of English and Philosophy defines plagiarism as taking personal credit for the words and ideas of others as they are presented in electronic, print, and verbal sources.  The Department expects that students will accurately credit sources in all assignments.  Plagiarism is grounds for failing the course.

Other Policies

    * Campus e-mail (myUWG) will be the official method for all communication by e-mail
    * No extra credit will be allowed in this course
    * Work done for another course may be accepted to satisfy requirements in this course, provided both instructors agree to accept such work.  Students should keep in mind, however, that the same work might be evaluated according to different criteria, given the different outcomes.
 
 

Assignments

Reading Rubric.  Use this guide to prepare for class on the days indicated in the schedule below.

The Narratives

Miniature Narrative: 
Using Jean Rhys' "I Used to Live Here Once" as a model, write your own mini narrative titled "I Used to Live Here Once."  Select a place you once lived, or a place you know well, and write a two-page, typed, double-spaced narrative set there.  Be sure to make your narrative a narrative.  That is, approach the place through a specific situation in time, as Rhys does, for example.  Another important consideration is the need to establish a clear and consistent perspective, or point of view in your narrative.   Use the class e-mail list I sent out to distribute your narrative, attached as a Word document, by 12:30, Tuesday, August 26.


Dramatic Monologue:  For this assignment you will write a dramatic monologue of one typed-double spaced page.  As with the mini narrative, be sure your monologue is a narrative set at a specific place in time.  The entire monologue, by definition, must be given in the voice of a single character and must be spoken in a dramatic situation (at least one listener must be present).  Don't confuse the monologue with episotolary form (a letter).  Use the class e-mail list to distribute your monolgue by 12:30 on Thursday, September 11.

Dramatic Monolgue Critiques:  We'll workshop some of your monologues on Tuesday, September 16.  Those assignments have now been made, so check the schedule.  Those responsible for primary critiques should again prepare a half-page formal critque of the piece and editorial commentary on the manuscript.  In addition, primary reviewers will prepare to "perform" a reading of the monologue as another level of interpretation.  All will participate in the workshop, of course.  Use the details in the written assignment to help you evaluate the success of each piece.

Narrative in the Vernacular:  Using Bambara's "My Man Bovanne" as a model write a one-page narrative in vernacular language or dialect.  Concentrate on realizing characterization through voice.  The narrative might be but is not required to be a dramatic monologue.

Full Narrative:   Write a six to eight page (double-spaced) short story that represents a completed action, with exposition, conflict, rising action that includes complications of conflict, climax and resolution.  You may draw on one of our earlier shorter narrative assignments if you wish, but that is not a requirement.  See the schedule for distribution dates.

All students in the class are encouraged to write in the mode of literary mainstream fiction and to avoid genre fiction:  fantasy, romance, western, science fiction, etc.  This is not to say that elements associated with these genres may not be used for the writing done for the class, only that the strict adherence to the requirements of such genres lies outside the scope of this course.

The assignments must be distributed to the class and the instructor as an e-mail attachment on the dates assigned in the schedule (forthcoming).

Analytical/Critical Assignments:

First Analytical Essay:   For this assignment, due October 2 in hard copy at the beginning of class, you will select one of the story we have studied using the Reading Rubric and write a critical interpretation of the story.  The chief expectation is that you demonstrate the logic by which you arrive at your interpretation of the story through close examination of the text.  To make sure your focus is sufficiently narrow, select a single element or comination of elements--character, language, imagery, tone, atmosphere, etc.) and demonstate the role the element(s) play(s) in developing the story's theme.  Use your responses for the Reading Rubric to help determine your interests and make your selections.

While close reading is a requirement, you may well combine that with any number of theoretical approaches (historical, psychological, mythic, feminist, Marxist/social) if you wish.  No secondary sources are required but may be used if properly documented.  For more information see the grading criteria on your syllabus.

The paper should be 3-4 typed, doubled-spaced pages in MLA format.

Second Analytical Essay:  Read chapter VII in the Oates text devoted to the genre of horror, including Lovecraft's "The Rats in the Walls" and King's "The Man in the Black Suit."  Use all that material and more if you wish to first establish at least three major conventions of the genre and second compare/constrast the handling of  one or more of those conventions in the two stories. 

The paper should be 4-5 typed, doubled-spaced pages in MLA format.

The Critiques.   The critiques consist of detailed notes on the original manuscript plus a formal written critical evaluation of the work.  They should be written in an analytical prose style appropriate for an academic paper.  Please note that three critiques are due on three separate dates for each student..  Each critique should evaluate and provide detailed commentary on the effectiveness of the narrative appropriate to the nature of the assignment in the case of the shorter assignments.  Iin the case of the full narrative, the critique should provide detailed analysis of plot, characterization, setting and atmosphere, style and tone (including higher elements of language such as imagery), and, finally, the total effectiveness of the work--remarking on both strengths and weaknesses of the story and making specific suggestions for revision.  Critiques of full narratives do not have to be organized in the order listed above.  Let the story itself determine the order of importance in which its elements are addressed.  Critiques of shorter assignment should be a half page, typed and double spaced.  Critiques of full narratives should be 2-3 typed, doubled-spaced pages in length.

Critiques, and all discussion of a student-author's stories, should always address the text, never the author. Critiques sharpen the thinking of the reviewer and aid the writer only when they are honest and respectful.  Students will read their prepared critiques to the class to spark further discussion of the story under consideration.  Authors must be present but may not join in the discussion of their work unless invited to do so by the instructor.

Students must provide two copies of the critique:  one for the student author and one for the instructor.  In addition, they must provide for the instructor one copy of the original story with their critical remarks on the text.  The original goes back to the author, of course.

A word here on manuscript format: All stories and critiques must be typed and double-spaced and printed in 12 point Times New Roman or Courier font.  In addition, all manuscripts should observe the standards of academic and business practice, with one inch margins all around.  All pages after the first should be numbered in the top right corner.  Stories must have a title and byline centered at the top of the first page (no cover page is required). For example:

Ruins
by
Randy Hendricks

Critiques should begin with the following information centered at the top of page one:

Critique of "title of narrative"
by
name of author of narrative
Prepared by name of reviewer

An additional word on standard English.  While in fiction the element of voice may demand some variation from the rules of grammar and diction, only writers who are masters of the rules can break those rules effectively.  In short, realistic dialogue or 1st person narration are certainly allowed in the stories written for this class, but such techniques must justify themselves.  Mechanics, grammar, sentence coherence and the larger matters of organization and coherence in a composition do count in this class (of course these latter elements take quite different forms in fiction and academic prose).

Total Participation. Means preparation for class as well as attendance, means arriving on time and staying for the duration, means taking an interested part in class discussion even on those nights you're not responsible for either a story or a formal critique, means a willingness to accept or even thoughtfully reject constructive criticism from other students and the instructor, means serious revision of creative work in light of that criticism and interest in your own development as a writer, means getting clean copies of assignments distributed to the class and the instructor on time, means taking the responsibility to get distributed materials should you miss a meeting, means undertaking assignments that may be given to you individually by the instructor in the interest of your own growth, means respectful behavior toward all members of the class and the instructor, means turning off your cell phone at the door on the way in.
 
 

Schedule

        Date                   Anthology Assignment                                                                                                                                                                       Workshop

 

August   19

Introductions


             21

Oates, Introduction, "Why We Read, Why We Write" (xiii); "Miniature Narratives" (3)
Williams, "The Use of Force" (12);  Jean Rhys, "I Used to Live Here Once" 24    MINIATURE NARRATIVE ASSIGNMENT


             26

Lawrence, “Tickets, Please” (429) Reading Rubric.


 Draft Distribution of Miniature Narrative Assignment

             28

Workshop

 

Faulkner, “That Evening Sun,” ( 446) Reading Rubric.

 St. Louis Blues


Narrative:  Abercrombie.  Critique: Franklin

Narrative: Cserjes.  Critique: Graves

Narrative:  Erdman, R. Critique: Hill

Narrative: Erdman, S. Critique: Mathern

September 2

Workshop

 

O’Connor, “A Temple of the Holy Ghost” (461) Reading Rubric.


 Narrative:  Franklin.  Critique: Langley

Narrative:  Graves.  Critique: Erdman, S

                 4

Workshop

 

Oates, “Dramatic Monologues” (69)

Oates, “Lethal” (71)

Martin, “Twirler”

Mann, “Still Life”

 Narrative:  Hill.  Critique: Roberson

Narrative: Jones.  Critique: Abercrombie

Narrative:  Lamourt. Critique: Jones

             9

Workshop

 

Welty, “Why I Live at the P. O.” (audio, we’ll listen together in class)

 

Dramatic monologue assignment

Narrative:  Langley.  Critique: Cserjes
Narrative:  Mathern.  Critique: Erdman, R.

Narrative:  Roberson. Critique: Lamourt, Lindsay

Narrative:  Lindsay.  Critique:  entire group, no primary critique assigned

               11

Doctorow, “The Writer in the Family” (480)   Reading Rubric


Dramatic Monologue Distribution

              16

Workshop

 

Oates, “Re-visions: Reappropriations”

Genesis 19 (203)

Ostriker, “The Cave” (206)

Ovid, “The Story of Daedalus and Icarus” 9218)

Ellison, “Fever” (221)

Grimm’s Fairy Tales “Little Snow-White” (227)

Sexton “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” 235

 

Reappropriation Assignment

  <>Monologue:  Abercrombie.  Critique: Mathern<>

Monologue: Cserjes.  Critique: Graves

Monologue:  Erdman, R. Critique:  Franklin

Monologue: Erdman, S. Critique: Hill



              18

 Atwood, “The Man From Mars” (496); Mukherjee, “Jasmine” (514)


             23

 

 Reappropriation Assignment Distribution

             25

 Workshop

Ford “Communist” (529)   Reading Rubric.


 Narrative:  Franklin.  Critique: Erdman, S 

Narrative:  Graves.  Critique: Langley

Narrative:  Lindsay.  Critique:  Lamourt

             30

 Heyen “Any Sport” (543) Reading Rubric.



Oct.       2

Bambara, “My Man  Bovanne” (559) Reading Rubric.

 

Assignment:  Writing in the vernacular

First Analytical Essay Due


             7

Oates “Narrative in Other Modes” (241)

Hawthorne, From The American Notebooks (1845) 246
Wright, "American Hunger" (264)
Dickey, "Cherrylog Road" (318)



Distribution of Vernacular Writing Assignment

              9

 Fall Break.  No Classes



               14

Workshop

 

Frazier, “Dating Your Mom” 588

 

Monty Python skit (video, We’ll view it together in class)

 

Writing Contest Assignment

Narrative:  Hill.  Critique: Jones

Narrative: Jones.  Critique: Roberson

Narrative:  Lamourt. Critique: Abercrombie

              16

Jones, "The Pugilist at Rest" 676

Contest Assignment Distributed

              21

Workshop 

 

Anthology Assignment TBA

Narrative:  Langley.  Critique: Erdman, R
Narrative:  Mathern.  Critique: Cserjes.

Narrative:  Roberson. Critique:  Lindsay


Full Narrative Distributions:

Jesse Abercrombie
Katelyn Csergjes
Rebecca Erdman

              23

 Full Narrative Workshop

Narrative: Jesse   Critique: Josh
Narrative: Katelyn  Critique:  Tiffany
Narrative:  Rebecca  Critique:  Joy


Full Narrative Distributions:

Stephanie Erdman
Kira Franklin
Brandi Graves

              28

 Full Narrative Workshop

Narrative:  Stephanie  Critique: David L.
Narrative:  Kira  Critique:  Jimmy
Narrative:  Brandi   Critique:  Nathan


Full Narrative Distributions:

David Hill
Nathan Jones
Jimmy Lamourt

              30

Full Narrative Workshop

Narrative:  David H.  Critique:  Brandi
Narrative:  Nathan   Critique:  Kira
Narrative:  Jimmy  Critique:  Stephanie

Full Narrative Distributions:

David Langley
Joy Lindsey
Tiffany Mathern
Josh Roberson

Nov         4

 Full Narrative Workshop

Narrative:  David L  Critique:  David H.
Narrative:  Joy  Critique:  Rebecca
Narrative:  Tiffany  Critique Katelyn
Narrative:  Josh  Critique:  Jesse

                6 

No Class:  Instructor at Conference


               11

 Day off to work on portfolios


              13

 Individual Portfolio Conference


              18

 Individual Portfolio Conference


              20

Individual Portfolio Conference


              25

 Individual Portfolio Conference 


Second Analytical Essay Due


              27

Thanksgiving; No Class


Dec        1

 Wrap up.  


              4

Final Portfolios Due by Noon

 

 

GRADING CRITERIA FOR ALL ASSIGNMENTS 2000-LEVEL AND ABOVE (This applies to the two analytical essays)

Note: A passing grade on any assignment first assumes competence in the mechanics of standard written English. 

C         To earn a “C,” a student must

 

B         To earn a “B,” a student must meet the minimum requirements for a “C” essay plus

 

A         To earn an “A,” a student must meet the minimum requirements for a “B” essay plus:

·         Provide a sophisticated thesis that demonstrates independent thinking.

·         Support all claims/ideas with appropriate, fully analyzed examples and compelling, insightful arguments.

·         Show persuasive logical development and organization throughout.

·         Maintain a distinctive voice and consistent viewpoint that incorporates interesting and varied style.

·         Provide secondary sources, where applicable, that demonstrate independent research in the field.

·         Enter into meaningful dialogue with secondary sources, such that the student is not just proving someone else’s point but developing original ideas in relation to research material.  

 

D         A “D” grade results from

·         Failing to respond clearly to the assignment, or

·         A lack of qualities listed under the minimum requirements for a “C,” or

·         Insufficient control of standard written English, resulting in substantial errors that cause confusion or incoherence.

 

F          An “F” grade results from

·         Two or more of the faults listed in “D” above.