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Before Class 5

Day 1 6


Reading 7

Writing Exercise 7

Day 2 9

Announcements 9



Lecture Notes 9

Reading 9

Writing Exercise 10

Welcome to our second writing exercise. This exercise helps you gather descriptive detail by asking you to think closely about the describing people and places. The writing exercise is due by noon and the workshop responses are due by midnight.

Please compose your work in Word and then attach it to your message here. We will give our responses using the reviewing features in Word. If you need help using those you can see instructions at http://www.asu.edu/english/writingprograms/cmc/MSwordTOOLhandout.doc

Each student will read and respond to the 2 exercises below their post. In your responses I want you to focus on the following ideas:

•        How was it?
•        What is it like?
•        What is it trying to do?
•        Is there drama in it?
•        What does it remind me of?
•        What do the characters want?
•        If I could change something, what would it be?
•        What could be expanded?
•        What is the conflict?
•        What is the atmosphere?
•        How does the language work?

Please get in the habit of using the subject line when you post your replies. It is especially helpful if you put your name in the subject line since it makes your post easier to find.

It is very important that you reply to the right message. Hit reply to MY message when you post your original work. If you are trying to respond to another student you can hit reply to their message. Pay close attention to this or all of our threads will be ruined.

Here is our first writing exercise. Have fun!: 10

Instructions: 10

Strong description does not mean that you remember exactly how something looked, smelled, felt, sounded, or tasted. Strong description is always partly fiction--meaning that you get to choose details that will work to create a strong dominant impression. Depending on the details the author chooses, the reader will immediately get an impression about the person or place being described. This activity is designed to help you gain total control over that impression, and write description that is unique, interesting, and accurate. 10

Describing a Place 10

For this activity, choose one place that will appear in your story (you can do this later for all of the places you will describe). The place should be room-sized so that it is small enough to describe in detail. First, list 10 objects that appear in that place. Do not add any adjectives to the list--make sure to use only nouns. Below is a sample description of my grandfather's cabin. 11

1. couch 11

2. bookshelf 11

3. rug 11

4. coffee table 11

5. ashtray 11

6. records 11

7. slippers 11

8. books 11

9. chair 11

10. windows 11

Now add adjectives to the nouns in order to create a distinct dominant impression of the place. 11

1. weathered leather couch 11

2. large, heavy, cherrywood bookshelf 11

3. handwoven Navaho rug 11

4. carved mahogany coffee table 11

5. crystal ashtray 11

6. Vivaldi, Mozart and Chopin records 11

7. warm lambswool slippers 11

8. scholarly law books 11

9. antique overstuffed chair 11

10. wide, lake-view windows 11

Now add completely new adjectives in order to change the impression of the place. 12

1. dirty, broken couch 12

2. lopsided bookshelf 12

3. torn, stained rug 12

4. cluttered coffee table 12

5. overflowing ashtray 12

6. Van Halen records 12

7. stinky, beaten slippers 12

8. motorcycling books 12

9. lazyboy chair 12

10. dirty, smoke-stained windows 12

Describing People 12

For this activity, choose one person that will appear in your story (you can do this later for all of the people you will describe). First, list 10 physical parts of the person. Do not add any adjectives to the list--make sure to use only nouns. Below is a sample description of my grandfather. 12

1. forehead 12

2. hair 12

3. arms 12

4. shoes 12

5. legs 12

6. hands 12

7. eyes 12

8. teeth 12

9. pants 12

10. shirt 12

Now add adjectives to create a distinct dominant impression of the person. 13

1. smooth, intellingent forehead 13

2. distinguished white hair 13

3. strong, welcoming arms 13

4. polished, shiny shoes 13

5. long, strong legs 13

6. well-manicured hands 13

7. kind, smiling, eyes 13

8. straight, white teeth 13

9. clean, pressed khaki pants 13

10. crisp, tucked-in shirt 13

Now add new adjectives to change the impression of the person. 13

1. wrinkled, angry forehead 13

2. disheveled, greasy hair 13

3. bare arms 13

4. worn, dirty shoes 13

5. stubby legs 13

6. spotted, crusty hands 13

7. beady eyes 13

8. brown, jagged teeth 13

9. baggy, torn pants 13

10. pit-stained undershirt 13

Once you have a clear description of a person and a place, write several paragraphs of your essay using that description.

13

Day 3 14


Announcements 14

Lecture Notes 14

Reading 14

Writing Exercise 15

"Narrative pace" is the speed at which you offer forth details of a story. A writer must vary the narrative pace so that the story does not become monotonous. To vary the narrative pace, make sure the most important details of the story get the most time and attention, whereas the least important details get less time and attention. Imagine your friend telling you a story about a car accident he had this morning. Here are two ways the story could be told. Notice they both have the same number of sentences but they take very different approaches to the story: 15

A. 15


First, I got up out of bed. It was still dark out. I took a shower. After my shower, I got dressed and I made myself some ham and eggs. After eating, I gathered my schoolbooks and walked outside to my car. Once in the car I shifted into reverse and backed out of my parking space. I was pullling out into the road when a car ran right into my driver's side door. I got out the pasenger's door and waited while the driver of the other car called the police. 15

B. 15

It was a very normal morning for me, that is, until I pulled out of the driveway and onto the road--much as I had done every other day for a full year. Time seemed to stop as a glanced left and saw a thundering blue chevy charging from out of nowhere. Its wide front grill seemed to smile at me ominously as the car inched closer and closer to mine--there was nothing I could do to stop it, and moving was impossible. After what seemed like hours of anticipating the impact, CRASH! the chevy's heavy chrome bumper smacked against the side of my car. Glass flew inward and covered my lap and feet. Breathing heavily, it took a moment for me to check every inch of my body, and sigh with relief when it turned out I was not injured. I crawled over to the passenger side door and stepped onto solid ground as a crowd began to form around the two cars. The other driver was already barking into his cell phone, calling for a police officer to come clear away the wreckage. 16

As you can see from the above passages, the details you choose to convey can make a huge difference in the impact of a story. For today's activity, I want you to think of an event you will write about, and remember as many details as possible about it. Write two drafts of your story--one with poor narrative pace and one with strong narrative pace. 16

Day 4 17

Announcements 17

Lecture Notes 17

Reading 17

Writing Exercise 17

Day 5 18


Announcements 18

Reading 18

Lecture Notes 18

Writing Exercise 18

Polished Essay 19

Publication Packet 20




Before Class


Announcements
Hi Students,

 

I am Trish, your teacher for ENG 394.  I am sending you an email about our textbook so that you can get it in time for our session even if you are not in the Valley. 



 

Our textbook is Tell it Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Nonfiction by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola, ISBN# 0-07-251278-4. Amazon.com sells it new for $36 and used for $24. Ecampus.com sells it new for $35 and used for $20.

I hope this helps. I am not done building the course yet, but it will be online soon at www.public.asu.edu/~trishm.

I look forward to a great class,

 

Trish
Hi Group,



 

I see we had a bit of drop add activity for the course, so I wanted to forward this message again to ensure that all of you can get the text in a timely manner.  I am still making adjustments to the course schedule and assignments, but the policies are available for you at:



http://www.public.asu.edu/~trishm/classes/394/policies.html

Below is some information I sent about getting the texbook.  Please make sure you have it before class starts. 

 

I hope your summer is going well.



 

Trish
Hi students,

I noticed today that all students have been auto-enrolled in the myASU course shell even though I am not completely finished designing the course yet. I am putting the finishing touches on our assignments and I hope to have all information available for you tomorrow at 5pm so you can get a head start on reading and brainstorming if you like.

But officially our one credit course runs only from July 11-July 15. I'll send around another email when I have our course ready to go.
Thanks,

Trish



Day 1


Announcements
Hi Class,
Great job on your Writing Exercise 1! I can't wait to read more of your essays. I see some great potential in the stories you have to tell. I replied to all of the Exercises using the reviewing features in Word. If you have any problem reading my comments let me know. I have just a few additional notes for you.
You will now have 2 workshop responses due at midnight tonight. You will give feedback to the two posts below your name.
You can see all of the writing assignments and due dates by choosing the "Assignments" button on the left-hand myASU toolbar. Please be familiar with what is to come, including reading assignments. The reading will be very important for you in the coming week, especially to help define for you what a creative nonfiction piece actually does. The genre is very different from fiction, and it is very different from academic essays. I saw some examples of both of those in a few of the WE1’s today. We need to make sure to write creative nonfiction, which includes reflection, narration, description, dialogue, and action.
I have a meeting at East campus most of the day tomorrow so you will not get my responses to your writing until later in the day.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
Trish

Lecture Notes

Welcome to ENG 394, Special Topics: Writing Creative Nonfiction. This intensive 1 week course will introduce you to some of the most important techniques for writing creative nonfiction. By the end of the week you will have completed 5 Writing Exercises, 10 Workshop Responses, a polished essay, and a publication packet. It’s a lot of work for one week, but I am sure you will be happy with the results.

I am very excited about our textbook Tell it Slant by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola. We will read most of the 200 page section on how to shape creative nonfiction, and we will also read several essays from the anthology. The book helps make the writing process more transparent and more accessible.
Writing, like any other art, is a skill that can be mastered with practice and perseverance. As the authors note in the preface of the book, language arts are difficult to master because though we all have the creative tools readily available, learning to master those nuanced tools can take a lifetime. This course, though short, will hopefully help inspire you to pay closer attention to the tools and skills used in crafting language arts.
The chapters in the book will help you revise previous notions about writing, and it will help you gain skills that successful writers use instinctively. I have assigned about 50 pages of reading a day. Depending on how fast you read this should take you 1-2 hours. Please budget that time into your day.
We also will have a writing exercise due each day at noon. You will respond to the two exercises below your post each day by midnight. The writing exercises lead up to your polished essay, which will be due Sunday July 17 at midnight. You are also responsible for completing the Publication Packet by Sunday June 17 at midnight.

My advice on writing?  Keep your butt in the chair.
--Ron Carlson

Reading


Preface

How to Use this Book

5

Introduction


Where to Begin

5

Chapter 9

The Personal Essay

18

Chapter 10

The Lyric Essay

16







44

Please also read the assignments for the 2 major projects due Sunday July 17: Polished Essay and Publication Packet.

Writing Exercise


Welcome to our first writing exercise. This exercise lays the groundwork for your essay by helping you decide what you do and do not want to write about. The writing exercise is due by noon and the workshop responses are due by midnight.

Please compose your work in Word and then attach it to your message here. We will give our responses using the reviewing features in Word. If you need help using those you can see instructions at http://www.asu.edu/english/writingprograms/cmc/MSwordTOOLhandout.doc

Each student will read and respond to the 2 exercises below their post. In your responses I want you to focus on the following ideas:

•        How was it?


•        What is it like?
•        What is it trying to do?
•        Is there drama in it?
•        What does it remind me of?
•        What do the characters want?
•        If I could change something, what would it be?
•        What could be expanded?
•        What is the conflict?

•        What is the atmosphere?

•        How does the language work?

Please get in the habit of using the subject line when you post your replies. It is especially helpful if you put your name in the subject line since it makes your post easier to find.

It is very important that you reply to the right message. Hit reply to MY message when you post your original work. If you are trying to respond to another student you can hit reply to their message. Pay close attention to this or all of our threads will be ruined.

Here is our first writing exercise. Have fun!:

1. Write the first four paragraphs of the story you would like to tell for your polished essay. The first four paragraphs should not tell the whole story. They should introduce key characters, key concepts, and key conflicts. Use narration, description, dialogue, and action.
2. Write the first four paragraphs of a story you would not like to write for your polished essay. Use narration, description, dialogue, and action.

Day 2

Announcements



Lecture Notes

Congratulations on completing the first day of ENG 394. We are 1/5th of the way through. For today you will do some reading, a writing exercise, and 2 workshop responses. I also want to make sure you have read the instructions for the two major projects due Sunday July 17 at midnight.



Work every day. 
No matter what has happened the day or night before, get up and bite on the nail.
--Ernest Hemingway

Reading


Chapter 1

The Basics of Good Writing in Any Form


20

Chapter 2

The Particular Challenges of Creative Nonfiction

22







42

Writing Exercise

Welcome to our second writing exercise. This exercise helps you gather descriptive detail by asking you to think closely about the describing people and places. The writing exercise is due by noon and the workshop responses are due by midnight.

Please compose your work in Word and then attach it to your message here. We will give our responses using the reviewing features in Word. If you need help using those you can see instructions at http://www.asu.edu/english/writingprograms/cmc/MSwordTOOLhandout.doc

Each student will read and respond to the 2 exercises below their post. In your responses I want you to focus on the following ideas:

•        How was it?


•        What is it like?
•        What is it trying to do?
•        Is there drama in it?
•        What does it remind me of?
•        What do the characters want?
•        If I could change something, what would it be?
•        What could be expanded?
•        What is the conflict?
•        What is the atmosphere?
•        How does the language work?

Please get in the habit of using the subject line when you post your replies. It is especially helpful if you put your name in the subject line since it makes your post easier to find.


It is very important that you reply to the right message. Hit reply to MY message when you post your original work. If you are trying to respond to another student you can hit reply to their message. Pay close attention to this or all of our threads will be ruined.

Here is our first writing exercise. Have fun!:

Instructions:

Strong description does not mean that you remember exactly how something looked, smelled, felt, sounded, or tasted. Strong description is always partly fiction--meaning that you get to choose details that will work to create a strong dominant impression. Depending on the details the author chooses, the reader will immediately get an impression about the person or place being described. This activity is designed to help you gain total control over that impression, and write description that is unique, interesting, and accurate.

Describing a Place

For this activity, choose one place that will appear in your story (you can do this later for all of the places you will describe). The place should be room-sized so that it is small enough to describe in detail. First, list 10 objects that appear in that place. Do not add any adjectives to the list--make sure to use only nouns. Below is a sample description of my grandfather's cabin.

1. couch

2. bookshelf

3. rug

4. coffee table

5. ashtray

6. records

7. slippers

8. books

9. chair

10. windows

Now add adjectives to the nouns in order to create a distinct dominant impression of the place.

1. weathered leather couch

2. large, heavy, cherrywood bookshelf

3. handwoven Navaho rug

4. carved mahogany coffee table

5. crystal ashtray

6. Vivaldi, Mozart and Chopin records

7. warm lambswool slippers

8. scholarly law books

9. antique overstuffed chair

10. wide, lake-view windows

Now add completely new adjectives in order to change the impression of the place.

1. dirty, broken couch

2. lopsided bookshelf

3. torn, stained rug

4. cluttered coffee table

5. overflowing ashtray

6. Van Halen records

7. stinky, beaten slippers

8. motorcycling books

9. lazyboy chair

10. dirty, smoke-stained windows

Describing People

For this activity, choose one person that will appear in your story (you can do this later for all of the people you will describe). First, list 10 physical parts of the person. Do not add any adjectives to the list--make sure to use only nouns. Below is a sample description of my grandfather.

1. forehead

2. hair

3. arms

4. shoes

5. legs

6. hands

7. eyes

8. teeth

9. pants

10. shirt

Now add adjectives to create a distinct dominant impression of the person.

1. smooth, intellingent forehead

2. distinguished white hair

3. strong, welcoming arms

4. polished, shiny shoes

5. long, strong legs

6. well-manicured hands

7. kind, smiling, eyes

8. straight, white teeth

9. clean, pressed khaki pants

10. crisp, tucked-in shirt

Now add new adjectives to change the impression of the person.

1. wrinkled, angry forehead

2. disheveled, greasy hair

3. bare arms

4. worn, dirty shoes

5. stubby legs

6. spotted, crusty hands

7. beady eyes

8. brown, jagged teeth

9. baggy, torn pants

10. pit-stained undershirt

Once you have a clear description of a person and a place, write several paragraphs of your essay using that description.



Day 3

Announcements

Lecture Notes



There are significant moments in everyone's day that can make literature.
That's what you ought to write about.
--Raymond Carver


Reading


Chapter 3

The Body of Memory

16

Chapter 4

Writing the Family

11

Chapter 5

"Taking Place": Writing the Physical World

15







42

Writing Exercise

"Narrative pace" is the speed at which you offer forth details of a story. A writer must vary the narrative pace so that the story does not become monotonous. To vary the narrative pace, make sure the most important details of the story get the most time and attention, whereas the least important details get less time and attention. Imagine your friend telling you a story about a car accident he had this morning. Here are two ways the story could be told. Notice they both have the same number of sentences but they take very different approaches to the story:

A.

First, I got up out of bed. It was still dark out. I took a shower. After my shower, I got dressed and I made myself some ham and eggs. After eating, I gathered my schoolbooks and walked outside to my car. Once in the car I shifted into reverse and backed out of my parking space. I was pullling out into the road when a car ran right into my driver's side door. I got out the pasenger's door and waited while the driver of the other car called the police.

B.

It was a very normal morning for me, that is, until I pulled out of the driveway and onto the road--much as I had done every other day for a full year. Time seemed to stop as a glanced left and saw a thundering blue chevy charging from out of nowhere. Its wide front grill seemed to smile at me ominously as the car inched closer and closer to mine--there was nothing I could do to stop it, and moving was impossible. After what seemed like hours of anticipating the impact, CRASH! the chevy's heavy chrome bumper smacked against the side of my car. Glass flew inward and covered my lap and feet. Breathing heavily, it took a moment for me to check every inch of my body, and sigh with relief when it turned out I was not injured. I crawled over to the passenger side door and stepped onto solid ground as a crowd began to form around the two cars. The other driver was already barking into his cell phone, calling for a police officer to come clear away the wreckage.

As you can see from the above passages, the details you choose to convey can make a huge difference in the impact of a story. For today's activity, I want you to think of an event you will write about, and remember as many details as possible about it. Write two drafts of your story--one with poor narrative pace and one with strong narrative pace.

Day 4

Announcements

Lecture Notes


The best writing is rewriting.
--E.B.White


Reading


Chapter 6

Gathering the Threads of History

9

Chapter 7

Writing the Arts

11

Chapter 8

Writing the Larger World

15







35

Writing Exercise




Day 5

Announcements

Reading


Chapter 11

The Basics of Personal Reportage

20

Chapter 12

The Writing Process and Revision

10

Epilogue

Last Words

3







33

Lecture Notes


I have rewritten--often several times--every word I have ever published.

--Vladimir Nabokov

Writing Exercise

Polished Essay


Write an 8-10 page essay using techniques of narration, description, dialogue, and scene.

Publication Packet


Read the webpage “Publishing Creative Nonfiction” at http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/00725127/student_view0/additional_material-999/publishing_creative_nonfiction.html.
Using techniques discussed on that page, do internet or library research to profile 2 magazines that would potentially be interested in your writing style. In your profile discuss the following details:


  • Types of essays published

  • Authors included in publication

  • Submission guidelines

  • Likelihood of publishing emerging authors


Assemble a packet that includes the 2 journal profiles, a cover letter for each journal, and your polished essay.




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