Fall 2013 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
"Ever tried. Ever Failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
- Samuel Beckett
Creative writing, like many things in life, can be a complicated pursuit. There are rules and structures. There is craft, imagination, context, and spectacle. Then there are markets and readers and expectations. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. With a nod to Beckett, here's how we begin:
Start reading. Read more. Think. Read again. Read closer. Think more. Read better. Read longer. Read louder. Think better. Read more. Keep going.
Start writing. Keep writing. Listen. Look. Think. Revise. Write again. Fail. Drink water. Write more.
Listen better. Look harder. Fail stronger. Read more. Think more. Write more. Write again. Revise better. Keep going. Keep reading. Keep writing. Don't stop.
If it's not evident by now, the primary work of the class is to read, analyze, and write creative texts. However, the goal of this course is a bit larger than just orienting students to a certain set of authors or fundamental techniques. The interdisciplinary nature of Arts & Humanities at UTD offers us a unique opportunity to explore the ways that creative texts can intersect and interact across generations, and how authors from different artistic movements or disciplines can influence each others' work. This means we will look at both traditional and experimental approaches to writing, and students will do projects and exercises in a variety of forms during the semester.
Assignments in reading and analysis will focus on three areas (fiction, poetry, and drama), as will the writing workshops. Students will be asked to complete a detailed critical analysis of a single, full-length work by one author (a novel or short story collection, a poetry book, or a three-act play), submit original writing for workshop twice during the semester (leading to a final creative project), provide ongoing written and verbal feedback to others, and meet the deadlines associated with all activities mentioned above.
We will cover a lot of ground, and students should be prepared to do a significant amount of work and preparation each week outside of class time. There will also be several opportunities to attend events featuring visiting writers, both on and off-campus.
Prerequisite: RHET 1302
Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, 3rd ed. (2010)
The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction (2008)
Joyce Carol Oates and Christopher Beha
The McSweeney's Book of Poets Picking Poets (2007)
Dominic Luxford and David Orr
Students will also find additional required reading (short plays, supplementary fiction and poetry, articles, links, and other course materials) available on eLearning throughout the semester.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
The major assignments are described above, with the final portfolio (book or play analysis + final creative project) comprising 50% of the total course grade.
Students should budget for print costs, as all workshops require submission and distribution via hard copy (to the instructor and all members of the class).