English 3860: Introduction to Nonfiction Writing
(001) 3:30-4:45 TTh; GC 1020; Fall 1999
Office: 2127 GC
Hours: 1-2 TTh, 1-5 W, & by appointment
This class is a workshop designed to introduce writers to the various
kinds of popular nonfiction pieces, including profile, interview, scenic,
service, travel, how-to, personal essay, and others. We will focus
on magazine and newspaper publication, and we'll work on generating ideas,
drafting, revising, copyediting, and MS preparation.
TEXTS AND MATERIALS
Terri Brooks, Words' Worth
USA Today, the News and Observer, and various magazines (as needed)
Money for duplicating your MSS
The work in this class is not particularly hard, but there is a great deal of it. Stay on top of it and you should be fine.
Come to class. Three unexcused absences. After that, your final grade drops one letter grade. University policy: no missed quizzes or tests may be made up unless you supply an official university excuse in written form.
You are responsible for duplicating your work and meeting all deadlines.
You should come to each class prepared to give good, thoughtful, constructive
criticism to your classmates' work. There will occasionally be short
reading quizzes, at my discretion. Fair warning: Plagiarism in any
form will result in an automatic F for the course, as will any other form
of cheating, including turning in work written for another class or work
written by someone else.
This grading scale is tentative and subject to change (with class consent,
of course). I use a ten-point scale for determining letter grades.
Writing Grade (three workshop pieces)....... 72 points
Two optional pieces ............................ 12 points
Quizzes and final ............................... 10 points
Judgment........................................... 6 points
Judgment is based on attendance, participation, written comments on peers' MSS, extra work, revisions, etc.
You will receive a grade from 1-6 on each of your major pieces of writing.
If you're not happy with the grade, you may have fourteen days to revise
the piece. If you fail to turn in your revision within this time
limit, the original grade will stand. You must turn in your graded
draft with your rewrite so I can compare the two; otherwise I have no way
to judge what you've changed. Keep my graded copies of all assignments
and rewrites. At the end of the semester, you'll turn these in to
me in a folder.
MS FORMAT FOR WORKSHOP PIECES
Make 18 copies of your story, and save your original. Follow these
1) leave one-inch margins so we can write comments; use doublespace or 1.5 space.
2) NUMBER PAGES!!!
3) type your name in the top corner of p. 1. Title your piece.
4) staple pages. Do not paperclip.
Subject to change. Since we use current newspapers and magazines for texts, I don't know yet which articles will be available for study; thus I'll assign the specific readings at each class meeting. If you miss class, call me to check the assignment, and come by my office to pick up workshop stories (they'll be in an envelope on the office door).
Note well: Your workshop deadlines are listed below by color.
You must not miss your deadline. If you are going to be absent for
any reason, you must make arrangements for someone to deliver your copies
to the class. No exceptions! We have a very tight schedule
and will not be able to work you in later. Meet your deadlines.
Aug 19 Introduction to the course; welcome
Aug 24 The art and craft of nonfiction writing; some basic terms
Aug 26 Service pieces (readings TBA)
Aug 31 More service pieces (TBA); techniques and brainstorming
Sep 02 Service pieces (TBA); Blue group deadline
Sep 07 Workshop; Red group deadline
Sep 09 Workshop; Green group deadline
Sep 14 Workshop; Yellow group deadline
Sep 16 Workshop; Purple group deadline
Sep 21 Workshop
Sep 23 People pieces (readings TBA)
Sep 28 More people pieces (TBA); techniques and brainstorming
Sep 30 More people pieces; Blue group deadline
Oct 05 Workshop; Red group deadline
Oct 07 Workshop; Green group deadline
Oct 12 Workshop; Yellow group deadline
Oct 14 Workshop; Purple group deadline
Oct 19 Fall Break: No class
Oct 21 Workshop; last day to turn in optional piece #1
Oct 26 Personal pieces (readings TBA)
Oct 28 More personal pieces (TBA); techniques and brainstorming
Nov 02 More personal pieces (TBA)
Nov 04 Style and mechanics; Blue deadline
Nov 09 Workshop; Red group deadline
Nov 11 Workshop; Green group deadline
Nov 16 Workshop; Yellow group deadline
Nov 18 Workshop; Purple group deadline
Nov 23 Workshop
Nov 25 Thanksgiving: No class
Dec 02 Revising, submitting work for publication
Dec 04 Last day to turn in optional piece #2
Dec 07 Mopping up; the State of the Art; Goodbyes
Dec 14 FINAL EXAM: 2:00 - 4:00. Please note: According to university and departmental policy, we are required to meet, however briefly, during our regularly scheduled exam period. Keep that in mind when you are making holiday travel plans.