This course covers the basic principles of the craft of writing creative nonfiction and fiction. The class is guided by these two questions: What writing techniques and craft choices help us relate the narratives—both nonfiction and fiction—that matter most to us right now? And, how does the way we tell a story influence what a reader believes that story to be about?
We kick off the semester by studying some of the key building blocks of creative nonfiction, including imagery, scene, characterization, tone, and voice. In the second half of the term we’ll build from there, focusing on techniques especially useful to fiction writing, such as point of view, perspective, tension, and momentum. Throughout, we will discuss the relationship between content and form, between the narrative and how we present that narrative.
The course requires close reading of published essays, stories, and craft pieces aimed at aiding our understanding of how to achieve a desired effect. These readings are paired with weekly free-writes. Your favorite free-writes are then developed into completed essay and story drafts that receive peer and instructor feedback. Finally, you’ll revise these drafts for inclusion in your midterm and final portfolios, alongside a brief craft addendum that discusses the narrative techniques you see emerging in your work.
Developing a community of writers, as well as understanding the trust and attention needed to offer feedback on one another’s work, is key to this course. As such, paired and small-group work with your peers will happen online via forum boards, editorial exchanges, and Zoom sessions.
Prerequisites: One ENG DL course or instructor approval.
All readings will be available for free on Laulima.
We will meet synchronously online via Zoom Tuesday & Thursdays, 12Noon-1:15pm.