“The Craft of Prose” Fall 2015: Course Description, Required Texts, and Grade Requirements

Instructor’s Course Description As a means of exploring the craft of prose writing, we will read, analyze, and imitate two living writers: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Jesmyn Ward. By reading two, book-length works by each writer—a short story collection and book-length essay by Adichie and a novel and memoir by Ward—we will see how these […]

“Babylon: A Place You’ve Only Heard Of” Exercise

Class: Introduction to Creative Writing (The College of William & Mary) Genre: Nonfiction Purpose: To examine how place becomes setting and to cultivate an “outsider’s” point of view Readings: “Goodbye to All That,” “Babylon,” and “No Man’s Land” from Eula Biss’s Notes from No Man’s Land and “Goodbye to All That” by Joan Didion   Think […]

“Nobody Knows Your Name” Exercise

Class: Introduction to Creative Writing (The College of William & Mary) Genre: Nonfiction Purpose: To explore the self as a character and subject Readings: Chapters 8 (“Creative Nonfiction”) in Janet Burroway’s Imaginative Writing and “Nobody Knows Your Name” of Eula Biss’s Notes from No Man’s Land Do you know the story of your name? Its […]

“No River, No Bridge: Writing Poetry, Writing Nonfiction” Handout and Exercise

I taught a class titled “No River, No Bridge: Writing Poetry, Writing Nonfiction” at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School’s Writers’ Fest yesterday. We discussed hybridity of poetry and nonfiction, as well as the ways in which poetry can take on and explore “truth” using essayistic strategies without the requirement of “fact.” Several students came up afterward to show me […]

Prompts: “The Conversationalist,” “Just a Phase,” and “Witness” for Creative Nonfiction Writing

A student wrote to me over the weekend to request a prompt for my Intro to Creative Writing‘s 5–7 page creative nonfiction assignment. Although I usually encourage students to locate their own subject matter as it’s a critical skill and they’ll likely care more about their handpicked subjects, I came up with several prompts that […]