• Reading Responses

I believe that the best writing is derived from good reading; therefore, this class is reading intensive. I try to balance the reading load by giving you time to respond to the reading in class. In order to encourage you to keep up with the reading and to ensure your preparedness to participate in class discussions, you should expect to be asked to respond to your reading (textbook or handouts) in class every day. These in-class reading responses will sometimes take the form of quizzes, sometimes they will be a written response to a particular prompt, and sometimes they may be more creative or experimental. They may even be oral responses or participation responses, sometimes. They will require that you read the assigned texts thoroughly in order to be successful. You will need to be active readers! As opposed to reading journals, these responses will become a record of your thinking about your reading and classwork and will become an occasion for you to reflect and make connections. Reading responses will be worth 15% of your final grade.

  • Writing Responses

Along with preparing you to be a better reader, this class will help you develop as a writer of non-fiction. Again, reading the writing of others helps you read your own writing more carefully and critically. Therefore, you will be responsible for responding to the writing of your peers. You will respond through constructive comments during in class workshops. You will also be responsible for at least one written response each workshop day. You will submit thorough thoughtful comments that your assigned writer can act on in their revisions. Writing responses will be worth 15% of your final grade.

  • Formal Writing

You will be responsible for three 6-8-page essays. The first will be a personal essay or memoir, the second an example of travel writing, and the third a kind of critic-at-large piece, a bit of literary journalism. These three essays will be discussed more fully in separate assignment sheets. Please read and reread these assignment sheets and follow them closely. The essays should be 6-8 pages double-spaced in a font like Times New Roman 11 or 12. The heading should include your name, the date, and the title, no need for more. Use 1 or 1.25 inch margins. Do not do insulting page lengthening goofball spacing font arrangements. Essays will be worth 15% apiece for 45% total.

  • Final Portfolio

This final portfolio will give you a chance to return once more to your writing and make it as successful as it can be. At the end of the semester after the reading and workshops are completed, and after you have received your letters from me, you will apply your new knowledge and experience of literary nonfiction to your essays one last time. This final portfolio will be a testament to your understanding of yourself as a writer and of the genre. It will consist of 18 to 27 pages of perfectly revised writing and a two-page reflection. It will be bound in a folder or binder. Think of this portfolio as your professional work, ready for submission. Your portfolio will be worth 15% of your final grade.