CRW 330 l Literature for Writers [Certificate]
Instructor: Berry, B
Unique #: 34610 & 34615
Semester: Spring 2017
Restrictions: CRW Certificate students
Computer Instruction: No
Prerequisites: One of the following: CRW 325 (or E 325), 325F (or E 325F), 325M, 325P (or E 325P).
Description: “Literature for Writers” is a fledgling course, though new courses are frequently the perfect opportunity in which to create unique and vibrant writing. CRW 330, originally created for graduate creative writers, is only in its second semester at the undergraduate level, so we are all getting in on the ground floor of what I plan to be a memorable course. The class will introduce to creative writers literary readings that inspire, motivate, and encourage the best from one’s own work. Sportswriter Red Smith famously quipped “Writing’s easy. You just sit down at the typewriter and open a vein.” But focused assignments and professional advice on what to write and how to do so can make the job easier, ideally resulting in solid, memorable results. Thoughtful direction, motivation, and imaginative prompts that seek imaginative responses are tools of the trade that I will use to encourage the best writing from my students, forging a strong foundation for the future of your craft, what I like to call the writing life.
We will look with a careful eye at several successful writers whose prose offers highly “teachable” literature. We will focus on such strategies as point of view, voice, place, atmosphere, author imitation, character names and development, and of course plot. We will neither study nor be writing sci-fi, fantasy (gothic or otherwise), or YA (as in Young Adult).
Texts: We will most likely be using a textbook by the aptly named Francine Prose, Reading for Writers: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them. (I might also be using various writing examples and suggestions from Janet Burroway’s Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, but this text will not be required.) We will also be reading Australian writer Kate Jennings’ novel Snake, a unique novel in its plot and telling, probably like nothing you have ever read. We will read from master stylist Ernest Hemingway’s first story collection, In Our Time, published when Hemingway was 27. We will also be reading a memoir, which is what I am working on in my own writing at present, so I won’t have a final choice in that important category until nearer the beginning of our course. I will post required course texts on Canvas when they are available.
Requirements & Grading: There will be weekly writing briefs, written responses to both the readings and my own writing assignment concoctions (which I try to make challenging, fun, and rewarding). One piece of writing will be initiated early and revised through the semester. Specifics will be outlined on the course syllabus, presently a work in progress.