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Advanced Nonfiction Writing: Narrative Nonfiction

ENGL 3350.301
instructor(s):
R 5:15-8:15pm, F 1:45-4:45pm

This is a course for students who love the written word and desire to advance their ability to write and craft narrative nonfiction. It is a course in applying devices of fiction to nonfiction writing without compromise of facts. Writing will be emphasized, and so will avenues of storytelling through such components as creating a narrative spine, building a dramatic plot, character development, scene-setting and use of quotes. Students must be willing to do significant reportage, since narrative nonfiction cannot exist without it. There will be heavy concentration on writing assignments and workshopping. We will also examine the work of authors such as Katharine Boo, Isabel Wilkerson, Monica Hesse, Lillian Ross, Lorene Cary, Gay Talese, David Foster Wallace, Truman Capote, John Hersey and JR Moehringer. We will also examine some of my own works such as Friday Night Lights and magazine pieces from Vanity Fair for candid discussions on what the author was trying to do and whether it was achieved. Each writing assignment will be roughly a thousand words. A comprehensive narrative nonfiction piece of somewhere around 5,000 words will be required at the end of the semester. Class attendance and participation are essential.

The course will meet on Thursdays 5:15-8:15 and Fridays 1:45-4:45pm on the following days: Sept. 1, 2, 15, 16, 29, 30. Oct. 13, 14, 27, 28. Nov. 10, 11. Dec. 8, 9.

I will be available for one-on-one discussions during the week of Oct. 17.