INTRO TO CREATIVE WRITING: THE SHORT STORY
1) to read literature analytically, carefully attending to plot, characterization, theme, metaphor, image patterns and genre 2) to read literature sympathetically, considering the cultural, religious, political, and social backgrounds of the works 3) to build literary awareness, through a consideration of genre and techniques 4) to write persuasively, clearly, and effectively 5) to revise both creative and analytical writing, incorporating suggestions from the instructor for more effective communication
Students are required to obtain actual books, the ones with real pages. Tablets or eReaders of any kind are prohibited.
All books are available on Amazon.com, as well as Texas Tech’s Barnes and Noble store and Varsity Books. Please purchase them promptly, as booksellers tend to send back unpurchased copies after the first few weeks of school. (see Calendar of Readings and Assignments)
Participation 20% total, including:
Two Short Craft Essays (1000 words each) 20%
Portfolio of Final Revisions 20%
NOTE TO STUDENTS
This is not a blow-off class. You will work hard in this class, possibly harder than you work in your other classes. You will read. You will talk about the readings. And you will write, both analytically an. This is the business of writers. If you are not prepared to commit yourself fully to these tasks, please save us all a headache and drop this class.
You are allowed three unexcused absences. Any subsequent unexcused absences after three will result in a 5% deduction from your average per absence. If you have a note from a doctor, a sponsor/coach from your university-approved group/team, or from an accredited legal representative, your absence is excused and does not count against your three “free” absences. If you are unsure whether your absence is excused or not, just ask.
Unless you have made previous arrangements with me, your assignments are due on their scheduled dates regardless of your absences.
Class ends at ____ and no sooner. If you must leave early (without a note), you’ll be counted absent. If you have a note, you must inform me at the beginning of class that you are leaving early.
SUBMISSION OF WORK
Unless granted special permission by the instructor, students must submit a hard copy of each assignment in class within the first ten minutes on the day it is due. I cannot guarantee receipt of assignments submitted in any other manner (email, under my door, in my box, etc.).
In addition, all submitted work should follow standard MLA guidelines available on my website or at owl.english.purdue.edu. More specifically: typed, double-spaced pages, 1-inch margins, 12-point font. All submitted work should be clear, specific, well-organized, and use correct grammar and punctuation.
Late work will not be accepted.
Please be respectful of other students and of me. If you engage in any distracting or delinquent behavior during class, you will be asked to leave and will be counted absent. If such behavior continues, you will be dropped from the course.
Students must obtain permission from the instructor prior to class before using laptops. Cell phones, MP3 players, tablets, and eReaders are strictly prohibited. Also, see attendance policy.
If you are caught using your phone (or any other device), I will give you a verbal warning and make a note on the sign-in sheet. Any subsequent time you are caught using your phone, I will simply mark you absent. You can choose to stay or go.
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Any student who because of a disability may require some special arrangements in order to meet course requirements should contact me within the first three days of class to make necessary accommodations. Students should present appropriate documentation from Student Disability Services.
If you are caught using someone else’s words as your own or co-writing any of your papers, you will receive an F on that assignment, and possibly for the entire class.
PARTICIPATION 20% total, including:
Class Discussion 5%
Please come to class having read the assigned material and ready to discuss it at length. Bring your book to class. (No e-readers allowed!) In order to receive an A for Class Discussion, you must participate in class discussions on a regular basis. Simply attending class won’t earn you any participation points. Come with questions about the text or specific areas you’d like to address. Personal anecdotes do not amount to A-worthy class participation. You must actually address the text.
Daily Writing Exercises 10%
Each class day, we will write for the first 10-15 minutes of our session. When you arrive, there will be a writing prompt on the board. Get to work. At the end of your writing time, you may share your writing with the class if you choose. Regardless, you will submit your work to me for critique at the end of each writing session. Once I return them, save these exercises in your three-ring binder and, at the end of the semester, choose one exercise to expand into a new story (your fourth for the class) and submit with your final portfolio.
Attendance of Literary Events 5%
As a literary citizen of Texas Tech and a member of our classroom writing community, you are required to attend at least two campus-sponsored literary events. Here are some options:
Students will write a total of four short stories over the course of the semester. Each story should be no shorter than 1500 words and no longer than 2000 words and must follow MLA style guidelines. We will discuss the individual requirements for each story as deadlines approach. Check the Calendar of Assignments for due dates.
SHORT CRAFT ESSAYS
Students are required to submit two craft essays of no more than 5 pages each. Each craft essay must attend to a different story of the student’s choosing and must be submitted on the scheduled discussion day for that story. These essays must contain a thesis sentence and at least five specific examples from close readings of the text (including quotes and page numbers). An extended introduction and conclusion are not required.
When writing your craft essays, think small. That is, consider a single element of craft (dialogue, diction, variation of sentences, POV, use of metaphor, etc.) and present that element, as well as an explanation of how the writer uses it. Remember, this is a short essay; there isn’t room here to address the work as a whole.
LAURI ANDERSON ALFORD
office hours: MWF 1-2