English | Writing Creative Nonfiction
W311 | 1954 | Woodcock

2:30p-3:45p M (15) 3 cr.


This workshop is devoted to the wide field of writings that are
non-fictional and yet creative in that the particular intelligence and
sensibility of the writer is an important part of the project.  The field
includes, among other genres, personal essays, autobiography and
biography, and certain kinds of cultural commentary and documentary
projects.  The goals of the workshop are to expand its members'
understanding of creative nonfiction, to bring them closer to their
potential as writers, and to give them practice in constructive criticism
within one model of a writing community.

During the semester the instructor will introduce autobiography and the
personal essay, and perhaps another mode or two, guided by the interests
of class members.  Students will be relatively free to work on several
projects of their choice, but they will have to write in at least
two different modes

Workshop members will normally be expected to hand in about 50 pages
(15,000 words) of finished work--typically four pieces of new work and a
thorough revision of one of them.  (After the opening weeks, students will
hand in about ten finished pages every two or three weeks.)  Everyone will
read and comment in writing on all submissions. We will frequently discuss
the process of writing, and there will be a required text or two. There
will be no exams.  Grades will be based on the quality and quantity of
work submitted, and on contribution to the discussion of classmates' work.
Timely submission of work will be essential.

Admission is by consent of the instructor based on a sample of previous
work and to some degree on your background.  Please put two pieces (10-20
pages) of your writing closest to creative nonfiction in my departmental
mailbox, along with a short note about your experience as a writer and
your hopes for this course.  Include your phone number, e-mail and mailing
addresses, and add a self-addressed envelope if you want the sample back.
I will review submissions several times a week beginning with the fall
registration period and post the results on my door (BH428) and with the
undergraduate secretary in BH402.  If you have been admitted, you should
contact the undergraduate secretary, June Hacker, to complete registering
for the course.

I would be glad to discuss the course with prospective students. If you
have questions about the course, please contact me first by e-mail
(woodcock@indiana.edu).  You might also consult the grapevine and/or my
version of it at the bottom of this web syllabus for an earlier version of
the course: http://www.indiana.edu/~jaweng/syllabi/w301nfsyll.html