ENGLISH 4210-01 ADVANCED CREATIVE WRITING:  FICTION
Fall 2006
MW 1:50-3:10
Humanities 208

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

Office Hours
MWF 9:00-11:00, MW 3:30-5:00
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.  To emphasize this component of the class, the formal reading assignments from the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction (Shorter Sixth Edition) will be divided among works representing various modes of fiction:  romance, realism, and various experimental modes of modern and contemporary
fiction.

For course goals and relation of course to progarm click here.

Requirements: 2 original stories, drafts and revisions (40% of final grade), 3 formal critiques of stories by other students in the class (40% of final grade), total participation (20% of final grade).

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 buys 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 6.  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

The Stories.  Each student will turn in drafts and final versions of two works of fiction.  Drafts will be critiqued by the class and the instructor.  The author will revise each work to turn in at the end of the semester.  The total page count of finished stories should be 24-30 pages (altogether, not for each story).  Students who wish to turn in segments of longer works for evaluation may be allowed to do so, but they must speak to the instructor early for permission.  Students who tend to write in shorter forms of prose fiction may also be allowed to do so, but will be asked to turn in more than two works for evaluation and revision.

Graduate students enrolled in 5210 will also write a critical introduction to the two stories turned in at the end.  The preface will situate the student's own writing in relation to significant theories of fiction and/or the art of established or contemporary writers.  For a fuller description of this assignment click here:   Preface Assignment

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 stories must be distributed to the class and the instructor as an e-mail attachment one week before they are scheduled for discussion in class.

Final versions of stories are due December 8 at 5:00 p.m.

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 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 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.  The section in the Norton Anthology titled "Talking about Fiction" (xix-xxxiii) will be an important aid for these assignments.   Each critique 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 story"
by
name of author of story
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                    Norton Anthology Assignment                                                                       Workshop
 
August   14 Introductions
             16 Poe, "The Fall of the House of Usher"  741/  From Poe's The Philosophy of Composition ; Fuseli's "The Nightmare" Draft Distribution: Jake
             21
Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener" 614
 
             23   Stories: Jake 

Critiques: Phil, Corey

Draft Distribution: Kay

             28 Tolstoy, "The Death of Ivan Ilych," 823  
             30   Stories: Kay 

Critiques: Kim, Chelsea

Draft Distribution:  Will

Sept.      4  Labor Day, No Class  
               6 Chekhov, "The Lady with the Dog," 93 Stories: Will 

Critiques:  Kay, Jake

Draft Disribution:  Chelsea

              11 Joyce, "Araby," 427  
              13   Stories:  Chelsea

Critiques: Will, Phil

Draft Distributions:  Corey

             18 Porter, "Flowering Judas," 755  
             20   Stories:  Corey

Critiques:  Kim, Chelsea

Draft Distribution:  Phil

             25 Welty, "Why I Live at the P.O." 882   
             27 Stories:  Phil

Critiques:  Corey, Jake

Draft Distributions:  Kim

Oct          2 Walker, "Everyday Use"   
                4   Stories:  Kim

Critiques:  Kay, Will

Draft Distribution:  Jake

                9 Fall Break, No Class  
              11  Garrett, "Wounded Soldier," 350 Stories:  Jake

Critiques:  Will

Draft Distribution: Kay

              16 Ford, "Great Falls," 338  
              18   Stories:  Kay

Critiques:  Phil

Draft Distribution: Will

              23 Kincaid, "Girl," 505   
              25   Stories:  Will

Critiques:  Corey

Draft Distribution: Chelsea

              30 Beattie, "Snow," 46   
Nov         1   Stories:  Chelsea 

Critiques:  Kay

Draft Distribution: Corey

                6  O'Brien, "The Things They Carried," 676  
                8   Stories: Corey

Critiques:  Chelsea

Draft Distribution: Phil

              13 Weatherall, "The Man Who Loved Levittown," 892   
              15   Stories:  Phil

Critiques:  Jake

Draft Distribution: Kim

              20 Tan, "Rules of the Game," 809  Stories:  Kim

Critiques:  Will

              22 Thanksgiving; No Class
              27 Viramontes, "The Moths," 870  
              29  Wrap up. Stories: 

Critiques: 

Dec         8 Final Fiction Portfolios Due by Noon
 

Assignment Due Dates for Each Student Enrolled



 
 
Student
Critiques
Draft Distributions
 Chelsea August 30, September 20, November 8  September 6, October 25 
 Kim August 30, September 20, October 11  September 27, November 15 
 Corey August 23, September 27, October 25  September 13, November 1 
 Phil August 23, September 13, October 18  September 20, November 8 
Kay  September 6, October 4, November 1  August 23, October 11 
 Jake September 6, September 27, November15  August 16, October 4 
 Will September 13, October 4, November 20  August 30, October 18