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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 314
Course Title: Intermediate Creative Writing II -- Creative Nonfiction
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

An intermediate workshop class in the writing of short creative nonfiction, including criticism of student and professional work.  Prerequisite: ENGL 207.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

ENGL 207

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered every three semesters.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

A text on the craft of creative nonfiction, such as what is listed.

One to four works of creative nonfiction by multiple authors.

To Tell the Truth
By Connie Griffin
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate the craft of creative nonfiction in at least three subgenres (e.g. memoir, lyric essay, personal essay, literary journalism).
  2. Revise original creative nonfiction using feedback from instructor and peers.
  3. Analyze creative nonfiction by peer and professional writers, paying special attention to elements of craft and genre.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
  • Students should write and workshop at least three works of creative nonfiction.
  • Other non-workshopped creative writing exercises should be assigned.
  • Students should write in at least three subgenres of creative nonfiction (e.g. memoir, lyric essay, personal essay, literary journalism).
  • Students should be instructed in, and use, the terminology of the craft of creative nonfiction.
  • Students should read and analyze multiple works by professional writers of creative nonfiction.
  • Students should practice the conventions of creative writing workshops by participating in three workshop sessions.
  • Students should write responses to workshop pieces in preparation for workshop and should participate actively in the workshop process. Instructors should collect written workshop responses over the course of the semester and assign a grade to them. In addition, instructors may be asked to collect data on workshop responses for assessment purposes.
  • Through composition of 40-60 pages, students will demonstrate knowledge of, and capability to use, the following tools through in-class work and written assignments:
  • Subgenre identification and construction: memoir, literary journalism, personal and lyric essay
  • Significant detail: showing versus telling
  • Characterization: dialogue, appearance and many other components of drawing a round character
  • Plot: the inverted question mark for more traditional narratives as well as experimental forms like the lyric essay and prose poem.
  • Time and Place: setting not just as backdrop but as integral to creating mood, evoking symbolism and characterization
  • Point of view and narrative persona -- the construction of the eye and "I"
  • Theme and tropes
  • Revision with an emphasis on development
  • After the midpoint of the semester, students should write a short paper requiring them to analyze a piece of professional creative nonfiction in regard to the craft and genre elements employed. More such assignments may be required at other points during the term, if the instructor so desires. Data from this literary analysis may be collected for assessment purposes.
  • Students should write a total of 40-60 pages of original creative nonfiction in the course. Some of this writing should be revised for the final portfolio.
  • The culminating assignment in the course is the production of a final portfolio of revised creative nonfiction. This portfolio should include a written reflection on the revisions that the student has made in response to peer and instructor feedback. Data from this assignment may be collected for assessment purposes.
  • Students should present their work to the class in a manner (such as an oral presentation) appropriate to the venue in which the course is taught.
  • Instructors may be asked to collect information from the assignments specified in the Major Topics/Skills section. This information will be provided to the English program for evaluation.
Culminating Experience Statement:

Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


Recommended maximum class size for this course: 15

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Christina Ingoglia Date: April 15, 2015
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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