Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go.  –Natalie Goldberg
                                     -OR-          727.538.7410

This is a one semester (18 week) course designed to help students develop and hone their writing skills through creative endeavors.  We will explore the writing process as a unique process for each individual—and one that is most likely different for each type or genre of writing assignment.  Genres to be explored include poetry, fiction, drama, essay, journal, article, comic, etc.  The final project will be a collection of at least one representation of at least three different genres that will be discussed during the last couple of weeks of the course.  Students will be asked to make copies of the final product for the class while the portfolio will have ALL versions from scratch notes on airplane bags and tourniquets to typed drafts and final copy. 
We will begin the course by engaging in a series of activities meant to inspire as well as stump the creative mind (ha ha!  How will you navigate your way out of that paper bag?) and we will engage in a series of discussions about the various aspects of writing in general and writing for a purpose.  Students need only be willing to experiment and to keep trying even if the experiment(s) fail—for failure is still a progression of learning if one can understand why the failure occurred. 
As far as grades go, the learning objective is that you begin to understand why what you do has the effect it does and to do what you do for a purpose.  Part of figuring this out is to work through many versions that DON’T work.  Your grade will be a reflection of 1) timeliness 2) a willingness to try something that scares you and 3) your ability to discuss why you did what you did and what you see as the results—good or bad.  So, if you turn your work in on time and are in class, prepared to work/discuss/read/listen/etc., and you are willing to try to stretch what you know by reaching into the unknown and are able to discuss your process, you will do quite well not only academically (i.e., grade book), but as a writer person thinker.  It is the latter this class is most interested in; the former is merely a reflection of the latter.  Aim for progress and the rest will fall into place.

Academic Objectives

  1. Focus on the word
  2. Sentence structure
  3. Word placement
  4. Genre appreciation
  5. Revision skills (Go on, do it again!)
  6. Attention to detail through the senses
  7. Establish self-directed goals

General Outcomes

  1. Develop perspective and point of view
  2. Understand the function of writing as a means of personal development as well as communication
  3. Experiment with themes to increase impact
  4. Collaborate in peer review groups (edit, proofread, revise)
  5. Construct grammatically and mechanically correct sentences
  6. Develop and retain word acquisition skills (vocab)
  7. Understand literary devices and their function(s)
  8. Experiment with the various elements of poetry
  9. Develop a well-constructed plot, incorporating the elements of the short story
  10. Develop a meaningful conflict and theme
  11. Develop interesting, realistic characters
  12. Create realistic dialogue
  13. Submit at least one finished writing to REFLECTIONS literary magazine

Grades will be based primarily on in-class participation, drafting and final product / product presentations.

Homework / Reading Assignments
From time to time there may be some outside reading you will need to do. 
In general, you will most likely have ~20 minutes of writing homework per day.

Please register for the forums boards at  You will need a valid email address.  Please make your user name your last name or some easily recognizable variation thereof.


No method nor discipline can supersede the necessity of being forever on the alert.  What is a course of history, or philosophy, or poetry, or the most admirable routine of life, compared with the discipline of looking always at what is to be seen?  Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer?                                                      --Henry David Thoreau


L | 9

¶Creative Writing
Semester I  2010

The secondary goal of this course is to create a working portfolio that will be referenced and built upon even beyond the time frame of this class.  Tangential to this goal is the methodology behind preparing to write.  Yes, at times it is best to just write.  But to craft a cohesive whole, one must plan, prepare, ponder.  As such, it is the primary aim of this class to teach students how to deal with writing as a solo activity and to have a strategy to overcome basic obstacles such as writers block and the overwhelming feeling of not having something to say about anything. 


  • A writer’s notebook will be essential to compiling your material this semester.  Your portfolio will be your final exam.
  • Bring your favorite writing utensils…whatever you are comfortable with is what you should write with.
  • Highlighters and colored pencils.


  • Where is the disorder, the madness?  In our minds?  In the art?  In the world?
  • Avant-Garde
  • Surrealism
  • Modernism
  • Post-Modernism
  • Structure
  • Language
  • Style
  • Voice
  • Experimental Literature
  • Patchwork


  • Based upon your own inclinations, you will research the above forms as they pertain to your genre preferences (poetry, short story, novel, play, etc.). Within each form, you will find and explore one artist (visual or linguistic) and one work such that you can show the relation of the time to the work and how it influences your own work today.
  • Part of your portfolio will be a current events section (weekly?) where you free write or draw or both based upon the subject or theme of the current article (news piece, essay, cartoon, etc.)
  • Along with your portfolio, the final, semester-long project will be to develop your own piece of experimental literature or “patchwork” for submission in next year’s Lit Mag.

Group Course Endeavors…

Part of the objective of this course is to build a foundation of ideas and methodologies.  In order to leave all participants with a sort of legacy artifact, there are several semester long class projects that may enhance your current stock or repertoire of idea banks.

  • Top 25 lists: novels, short stories, poems, movies, songs, etc.  All works that you think that all artists should be familiar with.
  • List of works that are based on real-life events.  For example, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood based on murders in a small town.
  • Writing and reading techniques and strategies to combat writer’s block.  Strategies must be based on writing: taking a long walk in the park is NOT a viable strategy.


  • Rhetorical literary analysis
    • In order to be a good writer, you must be familiar with the forms and techniques available.
    • You will choose a poem or passage from a short story or novel and analyze your piece for theme, style, structure and effect.
    • You will model at least one piece of writing from your analysis and show how what you did is based on the original.
  • As part of your writer’s portfolio, you will be asked to theorize your position as a writer sometime during the second six-weeks of the course (so, 5th six-weeks for 2nd semester folks).
    • Writer’s statement #1: a brief description of how you see yourself and your works (we’ll discuss this as we go, don’t worry!)
    • Writer’s statement #2: an abstraction or manifestation that represents your theoretical position.
      • An aside: don’t be scared by the above assignment.  We will discuss what it means to “theorize” and we’ll look at enough examples that you will be able to do this—with some thought and effort.  J
  • Consider the bracketed question about disorder and madness with each of the current news articles or essays (there is a difference!) you find per week.  Your final portfolio will have at least 15 articles and essays.
    • This assignment requires you to collect at least one article or essay per week and write why you picked the piece, how it supports your own situation as a writer, what themes or ideas it sparked and how you might use it.

Basic Course Structure

    • Mondays: language lesson / idea discussion (theme, event, structure, etc.)
    • Tuesdays and Fridays: Research, think, see, imagine: independent portfolio work
    • Wednesdays: collaborative discussions (share ideas, findings, etc.)
    • Thursdays: guided free-writing / project time