“ Sanity in a writer is merely this: However stupid he may be in his private life, he never cheats in his writing. He never forgets that his audience is, at least ideally, as noble, generous, and tolerant as he is himself (or more so), and never forgets that he is writing about people…so to forget their reasons for being as they are…is bad art.”
Professor: Jeremy Isaac
Office: 136A McIver
Office Hours: M 2:00-4:00 or by appointment
Text: Wendy Bishop. On Writing: A Process Reader
Raymond Carver. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
The goal of this course is to provide you with reading, writing, and thinking strategies for your college work and beyond. We will concentrate on reading, writing, and analytical skills. Naturally, we will do a lot of reading and writing, both in and out of class. You’ll write for a range of audiences. You’ll read each other’s works in progress along with the works of published writers. You’ll learn how to make more effective arguments and how to locate, synthesize, and evaluate relevant information. You’ll learn how to read like a writer so that your work will be more alive with voice and purpose and meaning. You’ll look at what lies beneath.
Student Learning Goals
At the completion of this course, you should be able to:
1. Recognize and correct any personal mechanical or stylistic obstacles to effective writing
2. Interpret and engage with the ideas, styles, voices, and forms found in our readings.
3. Organize an effective argument
4. Create a descriptive personal narrative
5. Write in a clear, coherent and effective style
6. Look beyond literal interpretation of a text
7. Lead an effective oral discussion
8. Develop skills necessary for the revision of written work
1. Reading and short writing assignments: This class will be reading intensive as much as writing intensive. You cannot expect to do well in class if you do not read. There will be many short writing pieces assigned throughout the semester. Failure to complete these will result in a reduction of your grade. Since everything you write in this class is a potential piece for your portfolio, keep all the informal writing you do both in and out of class.
2. Formal Papers/Drafts: You will write 4 formal papers, each about 4-6 typed pages. You’ll do several drafts of each essay. Please do not throw the drafts away, as you will need them to show process and progress in your portfolio. Late papers will not be accepted. If you fail to turn in a paper, you will fail the course.
3. Journal: For this course you are asked to keep an ongoing response journal. There will be no set schedule in which I collect these; it will be random. I will, however, give you one class period’s notice before I collect the journals. You are required to write in the journals twice a week for at least fifteen minutes each time. The journal is an outlet for you to work through your ideas on paper. Write about class discussion, assigned readings, or upcoming papers and presentations, etc.
4. In Class Writing: Each class member will take a turn being the in class writing leader. This person will bring in a topic for the class to write about for the first 15 minutes of class. The leader’s responsibilities for the day include: 1) bringing in a topic; 2) sharing it with the class; 3) keeping time, and finally, 4) leading a brief discussion of what the class wrote. Bring in whatever you want for topics: poems, news items, photographs, song lyrics, it doesn’t matter! Find something that catches your attention and you think others might be interested in, too.
5. Class Participation/Workshop Participation: Though there will be occasional lectures, this course is primarily discussion based. This means that participation is MANDATORY. A lack of participation will significantly affect your grade. Come to all classes prepared to talk about the reading materials. When a majority of the class has not done the reading, class discussion is curtailed and a quiz results. Throughout the semester, you will work in groups since this is one of the best ways to learn from each other. Before each formal paper is due we will devote class time to reading each other’s drafts and providing helpful advice. Do not miss these workshop days and do not show up without a draft. If you fail to produce a draft on the due date, you will fail the class.
6. Portfolios: At the midterm and at the end of the semester you will submit a writing portfolio for evaluation. Your portfolio will include some final versions of your essays, drafts of these essays in progress, and excerpts from informal writings. More specific information on the portfolios will be given later in the semester.
7. Conferences: You will meet with me for a one on one conference at least twice this semester. Please feel free, however, to see me anytime during the semester if you feel you need some advice or assistance with course work. A missed conference equals an absence.
8. Attendance: In this type of class, attendance is crucial and missed class time cannot be made up. Miss four classes, you’ll be docked a letter grade. Miss six classes, you’ll be dropped from the course. I also have no tolerance for tardiness; it disrupts class. Don’t do it. Finally, if you miss class it is your responsibility to contact me or a classmate to find out what you have missed. An absence is not an excuse for being unprepared for the next class – assignments, etc. are still due.
Semester grades will be computed as follows:
Midterm Portfolio: 35%
Final Portfolio: 35%
In Class Writing: 10%
Class Participation/ Quizzes: 10%
Academic Integrity Policy/ Plagiarism
All work submitted to the course must abide by the Academic Integrity Policy, which is covered in the UNCG Student Handbook and available online. Plagiarism is an extremely serious matter. It can result in the failure of this course.
*Note: Readings listed beside each date should be read for that date. All readings are required. WM=Writing Matters; OW=On Writing: A Process Reader
Aug. 16 Introduction, Syllabus
Aug. 18 Writing Matters 6-14; On Writing 192-195
Aug. 20 WM 32-33; OW 196-204
Aug. 23 WM 24-31; OW 205-210
Aug. 25 OW 210-216
Aug. 27 OW 222-223
Carver, “Why Don’t You Dance?”
Revising: Part 1
Aug. 30 WM 18-22; OW 312-322
Sept. 1 OW 349-358
Sept. 3 No Class (Off to Memphis for a wedding)
Sept. 6 Labor Day Holiday
Sept. 8 Workshop Formal Paper 1
Sept. 10 Formal Paper 1 Due
How We Write
Sept. 13 OW 2-12
Sept. 15 OW 12-21; 31-32
How We Experience Language: Literacy Narrative
Sept. 17 OW 52-60
Sept. 20 OW 60-66
Sept. 22 OW 67-85
Sept. 24 Workshop Formal Paper 2
Sept. 27 Formal Paper 2 Due; OW 325-339
Revising: Part 2
Sept. 29 OW 339-349
Oct. 1 Midterm Portfolio Workshop
Oct. 4 Midterm Portfolio Workshop
Oct. 6 Midterm Conferences
Oct. 8 Midterm Conferences
Oct. 11 Fall Break
Creative Writing and Experience
Oct. 13 WM 34-35, 38-39; OW 484-492
Oct. 15 OW 503-516
Oct. 18 What We Talk About…
Oct. 20 What We Talk About…
Oct. 22 What We Talk About…
Oct. 25 What We Talk About…
Oct. 27 Workshop Formal Paper 3
Oct. 29 Formal Paper 3 Due; What We Talk About…
Language and Style
Nov. 1 OW 564-572
Nov. 3 OW 573-580
Nov. 5 OW 580-594
Nov. 8 OW 594-604
Form and Research
Nov. 10 OW 238-252
Nov. 12 OW 256-264
Nov. 15 OW 419-439
Nov. 17 Workshop Formal Paper 4
Nov. 19 Formal Paper 4 Due
Nov. 22 End of Year Conferences
Nov. 24-26 Thanksgiving Break
Nov. 29 End of Year Conferences
Dec. 1 Final Portfolio Workshop
Dec. 3 Final Portfolio Workshop
Dec. 6 Final Portfolio Due