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本頁翻譯進度

燈號說明

審定:無
翻譯:王如欣(簡介並寄信)
編輯:朱學(簡介並寄信)

概要

四份主要的寫作作業連同讀者/作者筆記裡的練習都是這門課的中心。每一項寫作作業都是根基於先前創作的作品中的技巧。在每一個單元中,閱讀作業與初步的寫作練習會幫助各位為即將寫作的短文以及短篇小說作準備。這學期的課程中,在你們收到了來自指導教授以及同學們的回應後會修改你們寫作的每一份作業。附加的寫作作業包括在針對同學們在指定的工作坊中完成的作品所給的回應信。你們也需要進行一份打好字的讀者/作者筆記的寫作練習,也必須在期末至少做一次的 口頭報告 以及朗讀你們自己的作品。在學期結束的時候,你們會繳交一份有你們所有作業的期末檔案夾 ,包括第一次及修改的版本。這份檔案夾在期末的時候與第四項作業的修改版一起繳交。

標題範例頁
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

讀者/作者筆記:回應短文/創造性非小說
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

每份筆記的建議長度:1-1 1/2 打字的頁數,兩行間距

筆記的用意是要幫助你們「以作者的身份閱讀」,留意作者創造的方式,看他們如何對特定讀者訴說。每一堂課你們通常將針對指定的閱讀繳交一份短篇筆記。有一些筆記作業會在課堂上指定。但是在筆記中,你們可以選擇專注在作者技巧的一個或多個面像的方式。這些作業會為你們的課堂討論以及自己的寫作做好準備。我有時會要求一到兩個學生將作業分發給全班來激勵討論。

這裡有一些閱讀短文時可以考慮的問題。在寫筆記(非指定的)時你們大概會只專注在其中的一些問題。然而考慮所有的問題會讓你們對課程做好準備。學期後期,我會分發對於我們讀過的短篇故事的回應指引。

  • 這個標題的可能意義為何?作者如何介紹這篇短文?
  • 這份作品的主要語氣是如何-有說服力的、生氣的、告知的/中立的、諷刺的、幽默的?這個作者用了什麼樣的語言-簡單直接的、口語的、抽象的/「高度學術」的、個人的/告解的、幽默的?在短文當中有沒有語氣的轉換?作為一個讀者,這對你有沒有影響?你對這位作者/敘事者的印像是什麼?
  • 這位作者如何生動地描寫關於他自己或其他人的生活經驗?這位作者如何使用小說的工具(場景、角色、對話)?這位作者如何使用意象、象徵與比喻?
  • 哪些部分、段落或字句似乎特別重要?為什麼?這位作者如何在作品中使用字、詞、句子或段落的重複?
  • 這份作品的重點是什麼?
  • 作者如何結束這篇短文?介紹與結論作為頭尾,有沒有關於如何閱讀這篇短文的提示?
  • 你認為這篇短文要如何與其他的閱讀(課內或課外的)、你自己的經驗、以及你思考過的議題作結合?
  • 作為一個作者,你從裡面學得了什麼?有沒有哪些敘事技巧是你在自己作品裡使用的(或是會想使用的)?

作者的信作業
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

建議長度:1-1 1/2 打字頁數,兩行間距

在這個學期當中,我會要求你們隨時關心你們每一項作業的進展。當我閱讀你們的作品時,我也會像這樣具發展性地關切你們從前一份作業得到的進步以及對下一份作業的目標。我們帶著關於自己寫作經驗的反思開始這個學期的課:到目前為止什麼是對你作為一個作者有助益、你的寫作的哪些方面讓你感到滿意或是哪些讓你較不滿意、你期望在這堂課裡有哪些成就等等。 請花半個小時到一個小時為身為一個作者的你自己創造一個肖像畫。這些問題是要被當成指示來用的。不要用一個列清單的方式來回答這些問題。創造一個吸引人又具可讀性的敘事出來!

幾個思考的問題:

  • 你有多常為了(a)課程/作業(b)好玩(c)其他目的(例如:工作、學生刊物)而寫作?你希望自己多常寫作?
  • 你喜歡閱讀什麼?有沒有特定的作者激發你成為一個作者?
  • 不同的寫作方式(例如:技術性的、說明文的、日記式的、小說式的)對你而言會不會有不同的寫作經驗?如果答案是 「有」,請多加說明。
  • 你會如何描述作為一個作者的你自己(這個描寫可能根據不同的寫作類型如機械性的以及科學性的寫作、詩、科學小說等等,而有不同)?你認為其他人如何看待你之作為一個作者?
  • 你有哪些「寫作儀式」(例如寫作的地方、音樂等等)?
  • 什麼是你作為一個作者最有助益的影響(例如:朋友/家庭、階級、宗教、政治)?
  • 你有過的寫作課或英文課的經驗為何?
  • 你在這學期對自己作為一個作者的期許為何?

探索身份認同:練習1.1
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

建議長度:1-1 1/2打字頁數,兩行間距。請攜帶六份此項練習到課堂。我們將會以小組的方式分享並回應此項練習。

這項短篇的作業會為你們這學期將撰寫的短文#1或另一份創造性非小說或短篇小說作準備。這項作業的目的是要以生動的語言敘述個人的經驗並且鼓勵讀者參與到你們的寫作當中。如果你們將11發展成比較長的作品,你們將有機會更深入地反應這份個人經驗並且將它與更廣大的人性議題結合。

在這項練習當中,你們的目標是要探索你們自己或是某位你相當熟悉的人士身份認同的根本。當你開始這項作業時,指認出什麼是在你生命中或是你的主題中最重要的(中心道德或宗教信仰、社會理想、個性特徵、國家的、文化的或種族的認同、目標或承諾、工作目標)。透過關於諸如此類的敘述來寫出有關你自己(或是你的主題)的認同的根本:

  • 一個特定的事件或插曲。
  • 一個在親密的家庭或個人關係中特定的具象徵性的時刻。
  • 一個有意義的物件(照片、傳家寶、感性的物品或紀念品)。如果你選擇照片,你可能需要在練習作業裡附上一張。
  • 一個特殊或「神聖的」地方或是有意義的旅程。

盡量使你的散文生動、具細節又有描述性;在必要的時候使用對話。試著使用你用來描述自己(或是其他角色)以及描繪一個場景的語言來重新捕捉生活經驗的力量。對大多數作者來說,這表示你要放慢敘述的速度使得讀者可以身歷其境地感受到作品的情緒。

後記(幾句話):這篇作品如何引起更廣大的公眾讀者或是較小群的聽眾(如麻省理工社群)的興趣?你如何建構這篇作品讓它有效地對你的讀者訴說?你的經驗提起了哪些更廣大的人性議題?你如何將這份經驗與一個中心的思想或面向做連結?

注意:在這個寫作的類型中最好是讓想法與角度(在說明文中我們可能稱它為「論點」)從經驗當中出現,而不是將經驗放置到預先想好的角度裡。

短文1
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

建議長度:4-5打字頁數,兩行間距。 第一次版本:繳交兩份、一份封面頁以及練習1.1,如果適用的話。 第二次版本(兩星期後截止):繳交兩份、一份封面頁、改過的第一次版本、以及練習1.1,如果適用的話。

第一與第二次版本請都繳交兩份,連同給我的那份反映出作品優缺點的封面頁一起。如果你是從練習1.1發展你的草稿,也請一併繳交批改過的練習。當你繳交修改版本時,請包括我修改過有我的評語的第一次版本,練習1.1(如果適用的話)以及一份封面頁說明你如何回應同學們的(以及我的)評語/建議以及你在改寫當中已做的改變。(雖然將每個人的建議都納入考慮是很重要的,我並不要求你們一定要同意你們的批閱者的修改建議。)

透過探索你們自我身份認同的(或一個與你親近的人的身份認同的)中心面向,來撰寫一篇反應你們的(或你們的主題的)經驗的短文以與更廣大讀者有關的議題結合。在像這樣的短文中,通常將你們的(或你們的主題的)身份認同的討論放在以下的經驗當中會是最有成效的:

  • 一個重要的事件或是生命當中的轉捩點
  • 一個在親密的家庭或個人關係中特定的具象徵性的時刻。
  • 一個家庭的或個人的儀式或「成長儀式」。
  • 一個有意義的物件(照片、傳家寶、感性的物品或紀念品)。
  • 一個特殊或「神聖」的地方或是有意義的旅程。

仔細地思考你作為一個作者所使用的聲音。不要假設第一人稱的敘事是你唯一的選擇;如果你想要的話,可以使用第三人稱來寫你自己。盡量使你的散文生動又有描述性;使用小說的工具-角色、場景與對話。將你的敘事建立成可以清楚表達一個面向或一個中心想法。你可以選擇放入第二手的資料,雖然在這份作業中不要求這麼做。

這份作業的挑戰是要為讀者將粗糙的經驗以及回憶的資料建構並框架起來。透過經驗的角度(與編輯的選語不同),你有一個做為作者的大好機會可以與讀者彼此溝通共同享有的人性的廣泛議題。

注意:你可以決定從練習1.1擴展或發展。或者,你可以將1.1作為其他短文或作品或短篇小說的暖身作業,而為短文1寫一個不同的經驗。

短文1工作坊指引
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

短文2
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

建議長度:6張打字頁數,兩倍行高。第一次版本:繳交兩份,連同給我的那份反映出作品優缺點的封面頁一起。第二次版本:繳交兩份連同封面頁以及批改過的稿子(有我的評語的)。

作者們通常使用他們的(或其他人)經驗來思考與更廣大讀者們相關的社會以及心裡的廣泛議題。這份短文奠基並擴展在短文1裡的技巧。

透過過去或目前的經驗的角度來探討一個議題(心理的、社會的、道德的)。這個個別經驗可以是你自己的也可以是旁人的。當你向讀者敘述這個經驗時,仔細思考作為一個作者的聲音以及寫作的聲音如何幫助你為讀者建立起一個角度。在寫作短文時,將注意力放在你的敘事技巧:

  • 敘事的選擇(第一人稱、第三人稱、多人敘事的不同)
  • 場景用來建構短文的情況
  • 發展角色並使用對話。
  • (如果相關的話)使用多重的時間框架。
  • 在適當時機使用比喻的語言(隱喻、明喻)。
  • 在避免說教的同時清楚提供你作品的比較廣大的含意。

在這份作業中,你應該在修改版本中至少使用兩筆二手的資源。作為一個作者,你可以這些方式中的一種或兩種來整合你的資源:

  1. 當作你的論點的支援或澄清。
  2. 當作你的觀點的反論。

確定引述你的資料(用MLA形式)以及包含書目。你的修正版封面頁應該解釋你如何選擇你的資料以及它們如何影響你的思考。

如果你連結到其他的資料(課上的或是你自己的閱讀)來當作 形成你寫作風格的 「深度背景」、方法或觀點,將它記載到你的封面頁(首次版以及/或者修改版)告知是哪些閱讀影響到你的關於主題的思考或是你作為一個作者的風格。

同學提案的評論指引
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

短文工作坊指引2
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

口頭報告
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

每個學生都會報告一篇〈作者論寫作〉(Writers on Writing)系列中的短文。在這個系列中,小說和非小說的作者們討論有關將寫作作為一份工作的廣泛議題:

  • 寫作生活的韻律感
  • 使用書寫的科技(筆、電腦)
  • 想像觀眾
  • 處理「內在的批評」
  • 修改與重寫的過程
  • 小說與非小說的關係
  • 學習說故事的藝術
  • 說故事與家庭/民族的傳統
  • 創造角色與敘事
  • 角色作為改變的自我

每個學生都要介紹自己的文章,扼要說明並且為全班朗讀一到兩段具代表性的段落。報告應該是3-5分鐘。

短文3
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

建議長度:7-8打字頁數,雙行間距。第一次版本:繳交兩份,連同給我的那份反映出作品優缺點的封面頁一起。第二次版本:繳交兩份連同封面頁以及批改過的稿子(有我的評語的)。

描繪你們自己的經驗或是某位與你們親近人士的經驗,撰寫一篇探索社會、道德、心理主題的短文。

如同在你們先前的短文中,將注意力放在在創造性非小說裡使用小說的元素(角色、場景、對話)來具思考性地敘述你們(或其他人)的經驗上。以不同的方式與風格(例如第三人稱、第一人稱-日記、書信)進行實驗可以幫助身為作者的你們大幅地成長。在這篇短文中,你可以在短文放入至少與一位人士的訪談以及引用兩份二手的資料:(a)當作提詞的引用文句(b)當作參考資料(來支持你的論點或是現有的反論)。參閱Easy Writer的引述風格。

練習3.1

寫一份兩個段落的提案描述你對短文的計畫。你要撰寫什麼(以及誰的)經驗?你訪談過了哪些人士(或是你將訪談誰)?你的短文的主題思想是什麼?你覺得讀者會有興趣嗎?帶五份的練習到課堂上來。

短文3工作坊指引
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

作業/短文4
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

建議長度:8-10打字頁數,兩倍行高。第一次版本:與反應作品優缺點的封面頁一起繳交。第二次版本:與期末檔案夾一起繳交。

對於作業#4,學生們會有機會根據它們選擇的主題撰寫一篇短篇小說或是一篇創造性非小說的短文(描繪經驗)。在你的小說或非小說中,你會發現你想要更深入探索一個在你先前寫作當中出現過的主題(短文或是自由寫作)或是開啟一個新的主題。

如果你選擇的是小說,要讓讀者知道你是要創造一則短篇故事還是一篇小說中的部分。如果你繳交的是小說的一部份,寫一份短的前言(1-2段)描述你對小說的計畫並且告訴讀者這一部份將會在何處出現。

修改

在短篇故事或小說部分的結尾處,寫一份簡短的聲明(12頁)描述你所諮商過的任何外部資料以及課內閱讀或其他課外閱讀如何影響你的短篇小說作品(例如:情節、角色、敘事風格、場景、對話)。

短文4工作坊指引-非小說
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

短文4工作坊指引-短篇小說
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

期末檔案夾
(英文PDF)、 (繁體PDF)、 (簡體PDF)、 (英文DOC)、 (繁體DOC)、 (簡體DOC)

恭喜!你們這學期的工作已近乎完成。至於期末檔案夾,是在最後一堂課繳交,包括每一份作品的稿子與修改版(有我的評語的)。將舊的作品放在檔案夾的左邊,新的放在右邊。

在你們檔案夾開始的地方,附上一份1-2頁的介紹(在檔案夾的最上方)描述你們這學期的寫作。將自己想成是在籌畫將這學期的努力出版為短篇作品集結(短文、小說)。當你準備這份介紹時,考慮你四個選讀作品之間的關連性、相似性以及相異處(包括內容與形式)。簡單來說,一個讀者會認為你的作品最有趣的地方在哪裡?(注意:這是一份描述性的,而不是評量性的介紹。不要告訴讀者你認為的作品的缺點!)

在檔案夾的結尾,寫一份短的評量信描述你任為你的寫作這學期中有了如何的改進。(很明顯地,你將要針對短文4做評論)你寫作中的哪些方面-非小說與小說兩者-是你想要繼續努力的?(你可能會發現複習一下你學期初的「作者的信」會有幫助。)

祝你們準備檔案夾好運!!一個常見問題的答案:你可以將檔案夾放在信封內、有袋的檔案夾內、或是活頁本內繳交。


Overview

The four major Writing Assignments, as well as other writing exercises in your Reader - Writer Notebook/Journal, are at the center of the course. Each writing assignment will build upon the skills of the previous piece(s) that you've crafted. In each unit, reading assignments and preliminary writing exercises will prepare you for the essay or short fiction piece that you will be crafting. Over the course of the semester, you will revise each of your pieces after you receive feedback from the instructor and your classmates. Additional writing assignments include response letters to fellow classmates on their work due at the scheduled workshops. You will also keep a typed reader/writer notebook of writing exercises and will give at least one Oral Presentation and a reading from one of your pieces of writing at the end of the term. As the semester ends, you will submit a Final Portfolio of all four writing assignments, first versions and revisions. The portfolio is due at the last class with the revision of the fourth piece.

Sample Title Page (PDF)

Reader-Writer Notebook/Journal: Responding to Essays/Creative Nonfiction (PDF)

Suggested length of each journal entry: 1-1 1/2 typed pages, double-spaced.

The purpose of the notebook/journal is to help you to "read as a writer," paying careful attention to the ways in which authors craft their pieces to address an intended audience(s). Each class you usually will submit one short journal entry on an assigned reading. Some journal assignments will be given out in class. However, in other journal entries, you can choose how to focus on one or more aspects of the writer's craft. These entries will help prepare you for class discussions as well as your own writing. Sometimes I will ask one or two students to distribute copies of a journal assignment(s) to the class to stimulate discussion.

Here are some general questions to consider in reading essays for class. In writing (unassigned) journal entries, you will probably only focus on a few of these questions. However, thinking about all of them will help you prepare for class. Later in the term, I will distribute a response guideline sheet for the short stories that we read.

  • What is/are the potential meanings of the title? How does the writer introduce the essay?
  • What is the general tone of the piece - persuasive, angry, informative/neutral, ironic, humorous? What kind of language(s) does the writer use - direct and simple, colloquial, abstract/"high academic", personal/confessional, humorous? Does the tone shift over the course of the essay? What's the effect(s) on you as a reader? What is your impression of the writer/narrator?
  • How vividly does the writer draw upon memories of personal experience or the experiences of others? In what ways does the writer employ the tools of fiction (setting, character, dialogue)? How does the writer use imagery, symbol and metaphor?
  • What sections, paragraphs, words or sentences seem especially significant? Why? How does the writer use repetition - of words, phrases, sentences or passages - in the piece?
  • What's the central point of the piece?
  • How does the writer end the essay? What do the introduction and conclusion as "bookends" of the piece suggest about how to read the essay?
  • How do you see this essay as connecting with other readings (for the course or outside), experiences you've had, and issues that you've thought about?
  • What have you learned as a writer from this piece? Are there any narrative techniques that you are working with (or would like to work with) in your own writing?

Writer's Letter Assignment (PDF)

Suggested length: 1-1 1/2 typed pages, double-spaced.

Throughout the semester, I will ask you to keep a constant finger of the pulse of your own work with each writing assignment. As I read your work, I will do so developmentally, considering your progress from the previous assignment and your goals for the next one. We open the term, then with a reflection on your own experiences with writing: what has worked for you so far as a writer, what aspects of your writing are satisfying to you versus those which are less so, what you hope to accomplish in this course and so on.Please take a half-hour to an hour to create a portrait of yourself as a writer. These questions are intended as a guide. Don't answer these questions in a list-like fashion! Create an engaging and readable narrative.

Some Questions to Consider:

  • How often do you write (a) for courses/assignments (b) for pleasure (c) for other purposes (e.g. job, student publication)? How often do you wish you wrote?
  • What do you like to read? Are there any specific authors who have inspired you as a writer?
  • Does the experience of writing vary for you with different types of writing e.g., technical, expository, diary, fiction)? If "yes", say more.
  • How would you characterize yourself as a writer (this characterization may differ with specific kinds of writing such as technical and scientific writing, poetry, science fiction, etc.)? How do you think others see you as a writer?
  • What "writing rituals" (e.g. place to write, music, etc.) do you have?
  • What influences have been most helpful for you as a writer (e.g. friends/family, classes, religious, political)?
  • What has your experience in writing or English classes been like?
  • What are your goals for yourself as a writer this term?

Exploring Identity: Exercise 1.1 (PDF)

Suggested length: 1-1 1/2 typed pages, double-spaced. Please bring six copies of this exercise to class with you. We will share these exercises for feedback in small groups.

This short assignment should help to prepare you for essay #1 or another piece of creative nonfiction or short fiction that you will write during the term. The aim of this exercise is to narrate an individual experience in vivid language and motivate the reader to engage with your writing. If you develop 1.1 into a longer piece, you'll have the opportunity to reflect more profoundly about this experience and connect it with wider human issues.

In this exercise, your goal is to begin to explore the roots of your own identity or the identity of someone you know well. As you begin this assignment, identify what's most important in life to you or your subject (core ethical or religious beliefs, social ideals, personality traits, national, cultural or ethnic identity, goals or commitments, career goals). Write about the roots of your (or your subject's) identity through narrating one experience such as:

  • A particularly meaningful incident or event.
  • A specific symbolic moment within a close family or personal relationship.
  • A meaningful artifact (photograph, family heirloom, sentimental object or keepsake). If you choose a photograph, you may want to append a copy to your exercise.
  • A special or "sacred" place or meaningful journey.

Be vivid, detailed and descriptive in your prose; use dialogue when appropriate. Try to recapture the power of lived experience in the language that you use in portraying yourself (or other characters) or depicting a setting. For most writers, this means slowing down your narration so that the reader can vicariously experience the emotion of the piece.

POSTSCRIPT (a few sentences): How might this piece be interesting for a wider public readership or a specific smaller audience (e.g., the MIT community)? How might you shape this piece so that it speaks effectively to your chosen readership? What larger human issues does your experience raise? How can you connect this experience with a central idea or perspective?

Note: In this type of writing, it's often best to allow ideas and perspectives (what we might call "argument" in expository writing) to emerge from the experience, rather than fitting an experience to meet the demands of a preconceived idea.

Essay 1 (PDF)

Suggested length: 4-5 typed pages, double-spaced. First Version: Submit two copies with a cover letter and Exercise 1.1, if applicable. Second Version (due two weeks later): Submit two copies, a cover letter, the marked-up first version, and Exercise 1.1, if applicable.

For both the first version and revision, please submit two copies with a cover letter to me reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the piece. If you develop your draft from exercise 1.1, please include your marked-up exercise. When you submit your revision, please include the marked-up first version with my comments, ex. 1.1 (if applicable) and a cover letter commenting on the ways you've responded to the comments/suggestions of your peers (and myself) and the changes you've made in revision. (While it's important to consider everyone's comments, I don't assume that you will necessarily agree with all the revision suggestions of your reviewers.)

Through exploring a central aspect of your own identity (or the identity of someone close to you), write an essay that reflects on your (or your subject's) experience(s) to connect with issues that speak to a wider audience. In essays like this, it is often most effective to ground your discussion of your (or your subject's) identity in such experience(s) as:

  • a critical event(s) or turning point(s) in life
  • a specific symbolic moment(s) within a close family or personal relationship
  • a family or personal ritual or "rite of passage"
  • a meaningful artifact (photo, sentimental object, family heirloom or keepsake)
  • a special or "sacred" place or meaningful journey

Reflect carefully on the voice that you adopt as a writer. Don't assume that first-person narration is your only option; you can write about yourself in the third person, if you wish. Be vivid and descriptive in your prose; use the tools of fiction - character, setting and dialogue. Shape your narrative so that it clearly conveys a perspective or central idea. You may choose to incorporate secondary sources, although they are not required in this piece.

The challenge of this assignment is to shape and frame the raw material of experience and memory for a reading public. Using the lens of experience, you have a rich opportunity as a writer to communicate with readers about a wide variety of topics that evoke a shared sense of humanity.

Note: You may decide to expand or elaborate upon Exercise 1.1. Alternately, you can use 1.1 as a warm-up assignment for another essay or piece of short fiction and write about a different experience for Essay 1.

Workshop Guidelines for Essay 1 (PDF)

Essay 2 (PDF)

Suggested length: 6 typed pages, double-spaced. First Version: Submit two copies with cover letter to me reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the piece. Second Version: Submit two copies with cover letter as well as the marked-up draft (with my comments).

Writers often use their (and others') experiences to reflect on a broad range of social and psychological issues relevant to a wider readership. This essay builds upon and extends the skills of Essay 1.

Explore an issue (psychological, social, ethical) through the lens of a past or current experience(s). The individual experience can be yours or that of someone else. As you narrate that experience to your readers, think carefully about your voice as a writer and the ways in which writing voice helps to establish your perspective for readers. In crafting the essay, pay careful attention to your narrative strategies:

  • choices in narration (varieties of first person, third person, mixed narration)
  • setting(s) as establishing a context for your essay
  • developing character and using dialogue
  • (if relevant) working within multiple time frames
  • using figurative language (metaphor, simile) when appropriate
  • providing a clear sense of the larger meaning of your piece while avoiding didacticism

In this assignment, you should use at least two secondary sources in the revised version. As a writer, you can integrate these sources in one or both of these ways:

  1. As support or clarification of your point of view
  2. As counterargument to your perspective

Be sure to cite your sources (use MLA form) and include a bibliography. Your revision cover letter should explain how you chose these sources and how they influenced your thinking.

If you relate to other sources (from the course or your own reading) as "deep background" informing your writing style, approach or perspective, note in your cover letter (first version and/or revision) which readings influenced either your thinking about this topic or your style as a writer.

Peer Proposal Review Guidelines (PDF)

Workshop Guidelines for Essay 2 (PDF)

Oral Presentations (PDF)

Each student will present an article from the "Writers on Writing" series. In this series, fiction and nonfiction authors discuss a wide range of issues related to writing as work:

  • rhythms of the writing life
  • using writing technology (pens, computers)
  • imagining the audience
  • dealing with the "inner critic"
  • the process of revising and rewriting
  • relationship of fiction and nonfiction
  • learning the art of storytelling
  • storytelling and family/ethnic tradition
  • creating characters and narratives
  • characters as alter egos

Each student should introduce his or her article, summarizing it and reading one or two representative paragraphs to the class. Presentations should be about 3-5 minutes.

Essay 3 (PDF)

Suggested length: 7-8 typed pages, double-spaced. First Version: Submit two copies with cover letter to me reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the piece. Second Version: Submit two copies with cover letter as well as the marked-up draft (with my comments).

Drawing upon your own experiences or the experiences of someone close to you, write an essay that explores a social, ethical or psychological theme.

As in your previous essays, pay careful attention to the way in which you reflectively narrate your own (and/or other's experiences) using the elements of fiction (character, setting, dialogue) within creative nonfiction. Experimenting with different approaches and styles (e.g. third person, first person - diary, letter) can help you to grow significantly as a writer. In this essay, you should incorporate interview material from at least one person and two secondary sources: (a) as epigraph quotations (b) as references (to support your view or present counterargument) cited within the essay. See Easy Writer for citation styles.

Exercise 3.1

Write a two paragraph proposal describing your plan for the essay. What (and whose) experiences will you be writing about? Who have you interviewed (or who will you interview)? What will be the major theme(s) of your essay? Why do you think this would be interesting for a reader? Bring FIVE copies with you to class.

Workshop Guidelines for Essay 3 (PDF)

Assignment/Essay 4 (PDF)

Suggested length: 8-10 typed pages, double-spaced. First Version: Submit with cover letter to me reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the piece. Second Version: Submit with final portfolio.

For assignment #4, students have the opportunity to write either a piece of short fiction or a creative nonfiction essay (drawing upon experience) on a topic of their choice. In either your fiction or nonfiction, you may find that you want to explore in greater depth a theme from your earlier writing (essays or freewrites) or generate a new topic.

If you select the fiction option, let the reader know if you are crafting this as a short story or as a novel segment. If you submit a novel segment, write a brief prologue (1-2 paragraphs) in which you describe your plans for the novel and tell the reader where the segment will appear.

For Revision

At the end of your short story or novel segment, write a brief statement (1-2 pages) describing any outside sources that you have consulted and the ways in which course readings or other outside research influenced your piece of short fiction (e.g., plot, character, narrative style, setting, dialogue).

Workshop Guidelines for Essay 4 - Non-fiction (PDF)

Workshop Guidelines for Essay 4 - Shortfiction (PDF)

Final Portfolio (PDF)

Congratulations! Your work for the semester is nearly complete. For the final portfolio, due on the day of last session, include the draft and revised versions of each piece (together with my comments). Place old work on the left side of the portfolio, and new work on the right side.

At the beginning of your portfolio, include a 1-2 page introduction (at the front of the portfolio) that describes your writing for the term. Think of yourself as planning to publish your semester's work as a collection of short pieces (essays, fiction). As you prepare this introduction, think about the connections between your pieces, the similarities and differences (in content and form) in your four selections. In summary, what might a reader find most interesting in your collected work? (Note: This is a descriptive, not an evaluative introduction. Don't tell the reader what you feel are the shortcomings of your pieces!)

At the end of your portfolio, write a short evaluative letter describing how you have seen your writing improve over the course of the term. (Obviously, you will want to comment explicitly on the revision of assignment #4.) What aspects of your writing - in both nonfiction and fiction - do you want to continue to work on? (You may find it helpful to review your "writer's letter" from the beginning of the term.)

Good luck preparing your portfolio!! An answer to a common question: you can submit your portfolio in an envelope, a folder with pockets, or a ring binder.


 
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