Course Professor Term Meetings

CRWT 2301.002 Introductory Creative Writing Lauren Dixon Fall 2010 – August 19—December 2 JO 4.306, T TH 2:30-3:45pm

"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." –Thomas Mann Professor’s Contact Information Office Phone 972-883-2095 Other Phone 512.914.1761 (cell—please only use in case of emergency) Office Location JO 5.206 Email Address; Office Hours Tuesdays, 1:30-2:30pm and by appointment Other Information I do not accept assignments via email. Hard copies only. General Course Information Pre-requisites, Corequisites, & other Rhetoric 1302 restrictions This course is an introduction to creative writing and serves as a prerequisite for advanced courses in creative writing. Course Description The course will investigate and instruct students in the elementary approach to the process of creating original prose, poetry, and/or dramatic format works. The class will focus on a minimum of two genres and will cover both experimental and traditional forms. Textbooks: Making Your Own Days – Kenneth Koch ISBN-10 0684824388 Final Girl – Daphne Gottlieb ISBN-10 1887128972 Creating Short Fiction – Damon Knight ISBN-10 0312150946 St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves – Karen Russell ISBN-10: 0307276678 In Persuasion Nation – George Saunders ISBN-13: 978-1594482427 Short stories and poems as posted on WebCT Recommended: Required Texts & What It Is – Lynda Barry ISBN-10 1897299354 Materials Working Writer’s Daily Planner -- ISBN-10: 1931520585 Other materials: Bring a notebook to every class—you’ll need it. Consider designating a specific one to the writing exercises we’ll do in here. A folder for your final portfolio (containing revisions—we’ll discuss this more later) Access to a photocopier (you will be responsible for providing copies of your workshop material to all members of the class) An email address and access to WebCT

CRWT 2301.002 p. 2 Suggested Texts, What’s the best way to learn to write? Reference and how-to guides are Readings, & fine and dandy, but the only way you’ll really ―learn‖ is by reading. If you Materials want to write short stories, start reading anthologies or short works by your favorite authors. Get hold of the Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, or any Best of collection, for starters and go from there. Read everything ever written by Kurt Vonnegut or Flannery O’Connor or Allen Ginsberg or Nikki Giovanni or whomever it is you just love. Don’t just read the words—eat them up. Your writing method will be different from all of these writers, but reading is the first place you start when ―learning‖ to write. That being said, here’s a list of reference books I’ve found helpful when writing my way through a particular exercise, poem, novel, or story: The Complete Rhyming Dictionary – Clement Wood Wood’s dictionary comes complete with poetic forms and examples—a useful resource if your interest is in rhymed and strictly metered poetry. Remember: you have to know the rules to break them! Steering the Craft – Ursula K. Le Guin A unique guide on precision and exploration in narrative. Characters and Viewpoint—Orson Scott Card Card’s book is a great resource for character development and characterbased stories. While it is not required for this class, it is one of the best resources I’ve found for developing a well-rounded, dynamic character for any story. Story Sense – Paul Lucey Again, not a requirement but a great tool for developing screenplays and plot-structure in general. Contains information about formatting (an absolute must in scriptwriting, believe it or not), and a wealth of useful instruction regarding dramatic structure. If you’re serious about screenwriting, a book like this will save you a great deal of time. GRAMMAR GUIDES! Find one—it doesn’t matter which, Penguin, Little Brown, St. Martin’s, A Writer’s Resource—no matter how great a writer you are, these guides will save you from needless embarrassment in front of your fellow writers. If you don’t think your classmates care about your grammar, think how an editor at a journal will feel about your careless mix-up of ―there‖ ―their‖ and ―they’re‖: ―I know we want they’re to be a good place over their where we can rest our weary heads, boss, but I’ll be jehova’d if Steven didn’t up and kill there dogs already. We gots to move!‖ Bottom line: good writers at least try to pinpoint their weaknesses and work on them…and we can include shoddy constructions of the English language in this list.

CRWT 2301.002 p. 3 ASSIGNMENTS & ACADEMIC CALENDAR Topic: Introduction to the Course Group Assignments Defining a Genre: What is Poetry? What is the Short Story? Starting out running: Process and how to get one… TH, August 19 Concrete vs. Abstract—Our class mantra; Lynda Barry and Image training Reading Assignment: Ch. 1 Koch’s Making Your Own Days Writing Assignment: Complete handout exercise; write an introductory poem using the concrete ―list‖ method Topic: The Anatomy of a Poem—Line, Meter, Rhythm, Stanza Discussion of Koch and sample poems from the book; introduction to the Sonnet and Forms Mini-workshop; modeling of workshop seminar Presentation assignments Reading Assignment: Ch. 2 of Koch; Shakespeare and sonnets (handed out in class) Writing Assignment: The contemporary sonnet (given in class) (Groups 1 and 2 will be workshopped over this poem; everyone must write it) Topic: Poetry—Function of Form and Content; the Sonnet continued Group I Poems due TH, August 26 Reading Assignment: Chs. 3 of Koch; minimalism—poetry of William Carlos Williams (handed out in class or on WebCT) Writing Assignment: Note taking on sensory images; prep for next poetry assignment—the minimalist poem (Groups 3 and 4 will be workshopped over this poem; everyone must write it) Poetry Workshop begins Topic: Poetry—Discussion of Williams Group 2 Poems due Group I Workshop Reading Assignment: Chs. 4 of Koch; Plath (handouts) Writing Assignment: Prepare for data collection and 21 things exercise (handed out in class) (Groups 5 and 6 will be workshopped over this poem; everyone must write it) Topic: Lyrical and Confessional Poetry (Plath) Group 2 Workshop Group 3 Poems due Reading Assignment: First half of Daphne Gottlieb’s Final Girl Writing Assignment: Continue 21 things exercise (discussed in class) Topic: Thematics and Political Poetry; Daphne Gottlieb’s Final Girl Group 3 Workshop Group 4 Poems due T, September 7 Reading Assignment: Second half of Final Girl Writing Assignment: Take notes for final poetry assignment; poetry as prose (Group 7 will be workshopped, but everyone must write the poem)

T, August 24

T, August 31

TH, September 2

CRWT 2301.002 p. 4 Topic: Daphne Gottlieb and Poem as Political Group 4 Workshop Group 5 poems due TH, September 9 Reading Assignment: Prose poetry-Charles Baudelaire and Robert Hass Writing Assignment: Prose poem (can be narrative or experimental about your own or others’ life experiences) (handed out in class) Topic: The Prose Poem Group 5 Workshop Group 6 poems due T, September 14 Reading Assignment: Experimental prose poetry – Lyn Hejinian and Gertrude Stein (handouts or on WebCT) Writing Assignment: Continue work on prose poem Topic: Experimental Prose Poetry Group 6 Workshop Group 7 poems due TH, September 16 Reading Assignment: Renee Gladman and Eileen Myles (handouts or on WebCT) Writing Assignment: Write a story in one sentence. Topic: Hybrids of Poetry and Prose Group 7 Poetry Workshop T, September 21 Reading Assignment: Knight Part 1 (pp. 1-30); Read ―The Orange‖ by Benjamin Rosenbaum Writing Assignment: Write a paragraph that uses all five senses. Topic: Short Fiction—Classic Story Structure, Plot, and Conflict; Discussion of Knight In-class writing exercises Reading Assignment: Knight beginning of Part 2 (pp. 31-84); Read ―Fatso‖ and ―Surprise Egg‖ by Etgar Keret Writing Assignment: Work on plot for flash fiction piece Topic: Flash Fiction – Compression and Etgar Keret; Knight Part 2 Group 1 Flash story due T, September 28 Reading Assignment: Knight end of Part 2 (pp. 85-104); ―The Selfish Giant‖ by Oscar Wilde Writing Assignment: Write a character’s thoughts in one paragraph without revealing who he or she is physically; work on mental attitude Topic: Plot continued; Oscar Wilde and Knight Part 2 continued Flash Fiction Workshop Begins Group 1 workshop Group 2 Flash story due TH, September 30 Reading Assignment: Knight Part 3 (pp. 105-42); ―No One’s a Mystery‖ by Elizabeth Tallent Writing Assignment: In two paragraphs, write a fable/allegory

TH, September 23

CRWT 2301.002 p. 5 Topic: Dialogue; Tallent and Knight Part 3 Group 2 workshop Group 3 Flash story due T, October 5 Reading Assignment: Knight Part 4 (pp. 143-72); Jamaica Kincaid’s ―Girl‖ Writing Assignment: Dialogue assignment Topic: Character development; Knight and Kincaid Group 3 Workshop Group 4 Flash story due Reading Assignment: Knight Part 5 (pp. 173-82); TC Boyle’s ―The Hit Man‖ Writing Assignment: Write a paragraph of three events in chronological order; then rearrange the events and put them out of time sequence Topic: Structure; Knight and Boyle Group 4 Workshop Group 5 Flash story due Reading Assignment: ―My Life as a Bat‖ by Margaret Atwood Writing Assignment: Write two paragraphs from the perspective of a creature other than a human being (or an alien); use concrete detail and avoid abstraction Topic: Structure continued; Otherness and Margaret Atwood Group 5 Workshop Group 6 Flash story due Reading Assignment: ―Disappearing‖ by Monica Wood and ―Bigfoot Stole My Wife‖ by Ron Carlson Writing Assignment: Character and motivation assignment Topic: Expanding the flash fiction story into short story; Wood and Carlson Group 6 Workshop Group 7 Flash story due T, October 19 Reading Assignment: ―A Good Man is Hard to Find‖ by Flannery O’Connor Writing Assignment: Work on plot of short story; write an outline (you can do this in the form of a poem or any other kind of writing) Topic: Plot and Flannery O’Connor Group 7 Workshop TH, October 21 Reading Assignment: George Saunders "Jon" (23-61) and "The Red Bow" (73-87) Writing Assignment: Prep your short story draft; come up with a character and situation and begin drafting Topic: Short stories and Point of View – Discussion of George Saunders Reading Assignment: George Saunders "Brad Carrigan, American" (119154) and ―Bohemians‖ (183-195) Writing Assignment: Work on short story

TH, October 7

T, October 12

TH, October 14

T, October 26

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TH, October 28 NO CLASS – Prepare your short story drafts! Topic: Narrative Voice and Style – Discussion of George Saunders Group 1 stories due T, November 2 Reading Assignment: Kelly Link "Faery Handbag" Writing Assignment: Work on short story and revisions Topic: Short Fiction: Narrative Structure and Kelly Link Short Fiction Workshop Begins Group 1 Workshop Group 2 stories due TH, November 4 Reading Assignment: Karen Russell ―Haunting Olivia‖ (26-48) Writing Assignment: Work on short story and revisions Topic: Karen Russell and the Objective Correlative Group 2 Workshop Group 3 stories due Reading Assignment: Karen Russell ―Ava Wrestles the Alligator‖ (3-25) Writing Assignment: Work on short story and revisions Topic: Complexities and Motivations of Character; Karen Russell cont. Group 3 Workshop Group 4 stories due TH, November 11 Reading Assignment: Karen Russell ―St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves‖ (225-246) Writing Assignment: Work on short story and revisions Topic: Russell and discussion of Common Themes in Fiction Group 4 Workshop Group 5 stories due Reading Assignment: Maureen McHugh ―Laika Comes Back Safe‖ Writing Assignment: Work on short story and revisions Topic: McHugh and Revision Strategies Group 5 Workshop Group 6 stories due TH, November 18 Reading Assignment: Michael Chabon "Werewolves in Their Youth" (330) Writing Assignment: Revise short stories and poems to submit for Craft Analysis Topic: Chabon and the case for Genre; further Revision Strategies Group 6 Workshop Group 7 stories due T, November 23 Preliminary Poetry and Short Fiction Revisions due for Craft Analysis Reading Assignment: Dan Chaon’s ―The Bees‖ Writing Assignment: Work on craft analysis of your classmate’s work TH, November 25 NO CLASS – THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY!

T, November 9

T, November 16

CRWT 2301.002 p. 7 Topic: Genre conventions and Chaon Group 7 workshop T, November 30 Writing Assignment: Complete craft analysis of your classmate’s work LAST CLASS DAY TH, December 2 Craft Analysis Due Course Evaluations Portfolios and Final Revisions due in my office by 5pm TH, December 9

Course Policies Participation/In-class Exercises/Critiques (including one two-page response and one short presentation about a published piece we read in the class) – 20% Workshop Assignments – 30% (Four poems, 1 flash fiction piece, one longer short story 2500-5000 words) Craft Analysis – 20% Final Revision – 30% Three revised poems, one revised story due. You’ll submit this in a folder with all your workshopped drafts on the specified due dates. Assignments are due at class time; I do not accept late work. If you are absent, you must make arrangements to submit the work by the time class begins. Most importantly: DO NOT MISS CLASS THE DAY YOUR WORK WILL BE WORKSHOPPED! Attendance is mandatory; if you miss more than four classes, your grade will drop. After six absences, you fail the course. Excessive tardiness will also negatively impact your grade. Off-campus, out-of-state, and foreign instruction and activities are subject to state law and University policies and procedures regarding travel and riskrelated activities. Information regarding these rules and regulations may be found at the website address Additional information is available from the office of the school dean. Below is a description of any travel and/or risk-related activity associated with this course. If you experience any problems with your UTD account you may send an email to: or call the UTD Computer Helpdesk at 972883-2911.

Grading (credit) Criteria

Late Work

Class Attendance

Field Trip Policies Off-Campus Instruction & Course Activities

Technical Support

The University of Texas System and The University of Texas at Dallas have Student rules and regulations for the orderly and efficient conduct of their business. It Conduct and is the responsibility of each student and each student organization to be Discipline knowledgeable about the rules and regulations which govern student conduct and activities. General information on student conduct and discipline is contained in the UTD printed publication, A to Z Guide, which is provided to

CRWT 2301.002 p. 8 all registered students each academic year. The University of Texas at Dallas administers student discipline within the procedures of recognized and established due process. Procedures are defined and described in the Rules and Regulations, Series 50000, Board of Regents, The University of Texas System, and in Title V, Rules on Student Services and Activities of the university’s Handbook of Operating Procedures. Copies of these rules and regulations are available to students in the Office of the Dean of Students, where staff members are available to assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations (SU 1.602, 972/8836391) and online at A student at the university neither loses the rights nor escapes the responsibilities of citizenship. He or she is expected to obey federal, state, and local laws as well as the Regents’ Rules, university regulations, and administrative rules. Students are subject to discipline for violating the standards of conduct whether such conduct takes place on or off campus, or whether civil or criminal penalties are also imposed for such conduct.

The faculty expects from its students a high level of responsibility and academic honesty. Because the value of an academic degree depends upon the absolute integrity of the work done by the student for that degree, it is imperative that a student demonstrate a high standard of individual honor in his or her scholastic work. Scholastic Dishonesty, any student who commits an act of scholastic dishonesty is subject to discipline. Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student or the attempt to commit such acts. Plagiarism, especially from the web, from portions of papers for other classes, and from any other source is unacceptable and will be dealt with under the university’s policy on plagiarism (see general catalog for details). This course will use the resources of, which searches the web for possible plagiarism and is over 90% effective. The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials, including music and software. Copying, displaying, reproducing, or distributing copyrighted works may infringe the copyright owner’s rights and Copyright such infringement is subject to appropriate disciplinary action as well as Notice criminal penalties provided by federal law. Usage of such material is only appropriate when that usage constitutes ―fair use‖ under the Copyright Act. As a UT Dallas student, you are required to follow the institution’s copyright policy (Policy Memorandum 84-I.3-46). For more information about the fair use exemption, see

Academic Integrity

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The University of Texas at Dallas recognizes the value and efficiency of communication between faculty/staff and students through electronic mail. At the same time, email raises some issues concerning security and the identity of each individual in an email exchange. The university encourages all official student email correspondence be sent only to a student’s U.T. Dallas email address and that faculty and staff consider email from students official Email Use only if it originates from a UTD student account. This allows the university to maintain a high degree of confidence in the identity of all individual corresponding and the security of the transmitted information. UTD furnishes each student with a free email account that is to be used in all communication with university personnel. The Department of Information Resources at U.T. Dallas provides a method for students to have their U.T. Dallas mail forwarded to other accounts. The administration of this institution has set deadlines for withdrawal of any college-level courses. These dates and times are published in that semester's Withdrawal course catalog. Administration procedures must be followed. It is the from Class student's responsibility to handle withdrawal requirements from any class. In other words, I cannot drop or withdraw any student. You must do the proper paperwork to ensure that you will not receive a final grade of "F" in a course if you choose not to attend the class once you are enrolled. Procedures for student grievances are found in Title V, Rules on Student Services and Activities, of the university’s Handbook of Operating Procedures. In attempting to resolve any student grievance regarding grades, evaluations, or other fulfillments of academic responsibility, it is the obligation of the student first to make a serious effort to resolve the matter with the instructor, supervisor, administrator, or committee with whom the grievance originates (hereafter called ―the respondent‖). Individual faculty members retain primary responsibility for assigning grades and evaluations. If the matter Student cannot be resolved at that level, the grievance must be submitted in writing to Grievance the respondent with a copy of the respondent’s School Dean. If the matter is Procedures not resolved by the written response provided by the respondent, the student may submit a written appeal to the School Dean. If the grievance is not resolved by the School Dean’s decision, the student may make a written appeal to the Dean of Graduate or Undergraduate Education, and the deal will appoint and convene an Academic Appeals Panel. The decision of the Academic Appeals Panel is final. The results of the academic appeals process will be distributed to all involved parties. Copies of these rules and regulations are available to students in the Office of the Dean of Students, where staff members are available to assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations. As per university policy, incomplete grades will be granted only for work Incomplete unavoidably missed at the semester’s end and only if 70% of the course work Grades has been completed. An incomplete grade must be resolved within eight (8) weeks from the first day of the subsequent long semester. If the required

CRWT 2301.002 p. 10 work to complete the course and to remove the incomplete grade is not submitted by the specified deadline, the incomplete grade is changed automatically to a grade of F. The goal of Disability Services is to provide students with disabilities educational opportunities equal to those of their non-disabled peers. Disability Services is located in room 1.610 in the Student Union. Office hours are Monday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The contact information for the Office of Disability Services is: The University of Texas at Dallas, SU 22 PO Box 830688 Richardson, Texas 75083-0688 (972) 883-2098 (voice or TTY) If you anticipate issues related to the format or requirements of this course, please meet with the Coordinator of Disability Services. The Coordinator is available to discuss ways to ensure your full participation in the course. If you determine that formal, disability-related accommodations are necessary, it is very important that you be registered with Disability Services to notify them of your eligibility for reasonable accommodations. Disability Services can then plan how best to coordinate your accommodations. It is the student’s responsibility to notify his or her professors of the need for such an accommodation. Disability Services provides students with letters to present to faculty members to verify that the student has a disability and needs accommodations. Individuals requiring special accommodation should contact the professor after class or during office hours. The University of Texas at Dallas will excuse a student from class or other required activities for the travel to and observance of a religious holy day for a religion whose places of worship are exempt from property tax under Section 11.20, Tax Code, Texas Code Annotated. The student is encouraged to notify the instructor or activity sponsor as soon as possible regarding the absence, preferably in advance of the assignment. The student, so excused, will be allowed to take the exam or complete the assignment within a reasonable time after the absence: a period equal to the Religious Holy length of the absence, up to a maximum of one week. A student who notifies Days the instructor and completes any missed exam or assignment may not be penalized for the absence. A student who fails to complete the exam or assignment within the prescribed period may receive a failing grade for that exam or assignment.

Disability Services

If a student or an instructor disagrees about the nature of the absence [i.e., for the purpose of observing a religious holy day] or if there is similar disagreement about whether the student has been given a reasonable time to complete any missed assignments or examinations, either the student or the

CRWT 2301.002 p. 11 instructor may request a ruling from the chief executive officer of the institution, or his or her designee. The chief executive officer or designee must take into account the legislative intent of TEC 51.911(b), and the student and instructor will abide by the decision of the chief executive officer or designee. These descriptions and timelines are subject to change at the discretion of the Professor.

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More information about Workshop and Writing Exercises
As a reminder, this is the grading breakdown for our class:
Participation/In-class Exercises/Critiques (including one two-page response and one short presentation about a published piece we read in the class) – 20% Workshop Assignments – 30% Craft Analysis – 20% Final Revision – 30% Three revised poems, one revised story due. You’ll submit this in a folder with all your workshopped drafts on the specified due dates.

Workshop Assignments include poems, flash fiction pieces, and short stories that are due BOTH for large group workshop and small group workshop. We will break the class down into smaller groups during the poetry sessions. This means that you will have a poem due each week we workshop in poetry. So what does this equate to? FOUR poems due for workshop (with three revisions to be submitted to me at the end of the term); ONE of those poems will be workshopped by the whole class; THREE of those poems will be workshopped in your small group. Photocopy Policy: When you are workshopped by the whole class, you are responsible for submitting TWENTY copies of your piece to us (unless your group is the one who must put your work on WebCT); when you are workshopped by your small group, you are responsible for submitting THREE copies of your piece to us (two to your group members and one to me). Failure to submit a poem when your piece is due for workshop will equate to a reduction in your workshop assignment grade. Additionally, for each week we work on flash fiction and short story, I require that you turn in 300 words of prose to me. These will not be workshopped by the entire class. This is an excellent opportunity to work on your short story or screenplay (as those 1000 words can involve the story/script), to create character profiles, outlines, plot structures, etc. These words cannot, however, meander into personal journal (―I’m so angry at my boyfriend/roommate/cat/evil brother! He ruined my new shirt!‖)—I want you to work on fictional prose. Sometimes I will give you an assignment (such as a dialogue or setting exercise) that will help you fulfill those 300 words of prose. During our poetry sessions, you will have assignments that help you get started on your poems. If you are ever stuck on a piece of work, come talk to me! I have plenty of ―getting started‖ exercises that can assist you, and the Lynda Barry book is also a great resource.

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