To supplement the catalog descriptions with more details for our students, our instructors have provided the following course descriptions. They are grouped by instructor and posted in the order listed below. More descriptions will be added in future quarters.
UPDATE: More Instructor Course Descriptions are available HERE. On that page, click on each instructor's name to view his/her course descriptions.
Adv Focused Fiction Workshop (online)
Narrative Journalism (online)
Focused Poetry Workshop (online)
Poetry Genres (online)
Fundamentals of Contemporary Fiction (online)
Adv Studies in the Craft of Fiction (online)
The Lyric Essay (online)
Flash Fiction (online)
Prose Collection: Alice Munro (online)
Prose Collection: Richard Ford (online)
Personal Essay & Memoir (online)
Creative Nonfiction Workshop (online)
Adv Studies Craft of Poetry (online)
The Literary Journal (online)
Prose Collection: Tobias Wolff / David Sedaris (online)
Fiction Cluster (in-class)
Adv Poetry Cluster (in-class)
Scriptwriting Cluster (in-class)
Poetry Cluster (in-class)
Narrative Journalism Cluster (in-class)
Adv Focused Fiction Workshop / Tony D'Souza:
What part of the literary family tree do you belong to? By exploring a wide range of writers and styles from the minimalist Ray Carver to the fantastical Italo Calvino, we'll develop a stronger foundation in the canon we all spring from, while cultivating our own writing through intensive workshops. The fictional line may have the longest learning curve of all the literary arts, especially for the beginning novelist. This course will emphasize the art of writer's discipline and offer tips on creating the routine and creative workspace a writer needs to run the marathon of writing a great book. Character, tone, and gravitas will all be discussed in relation to our work and final projects will include an exploration of the contemporary publishing marketplace and just how one goes about submitting work and seeing our names in real print.
Narrative Journalism / Tony D'Souza:
Narrative journalism is the art of telling a true story, weaving research and facts into an engaging, page-turning piece of non-fiction that reads with energy, insight and depth. Readers love non-fiction as a means to better understand the world and people different from them. The task of the narrative journalist is to paint accurate and vivid portraits of people and subjects even the journalist, at the beginning of the writing, may know little about.
Media is changing quickly with many new online platforms for publishing narrative journalism; in fact, narrative journalism may be enjoying is most vibrant period ever. We will look at a diverse sampling of long narrative non-fiction pieces from some of the leading outlets today, including The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Harper's, and Vanity Fair. We'll discuss how to achieve the 'holy grail' of the narrative journalist--writing a piece with 'three-dimensionality'--as well as investigate how to balance primary and secondary sources, dialogue, interviews, and hard facts with the demands of story-telling. Students will have free range to investigate whatever subjects are dear to their own hearts while building strong foundations as narrative journalists in this field of writing where publishers are actively looking for new writers and content.
We’ll not only explore non-fiction writing and publishing for today’s world, but also ethics, craft, the submissions process and the social importance of it all. The ability to write narrative journalism greatly diversifies a writer's range and ability to answer the question, "How do I tell this true tale in a way that always brings the reader along?"
Focused Poetry Workshop / Eve Jones:
This course is an intensive poetry writing workshop in which each student will produce original work and submit it to the class for analysis, close reading, line editing, discussion of theme and content, and suggestions for revision. Depending on class size, students will have the chance to submit several poems and receive critical feedback. We will use Jack Myers' Portable Poetry Workshop, a text focusing on both craft and workshop guidance/tips.
Poetry Genres / Eve Jones:
Poetry Genres is a lit class in which we examine the integral elements of a poem: What is the purpose of The Line? The metaphorical image? Does the poem make sounds? Against what sort of cage does it rattle? Are you Team Open Poem or Team Closed Poem? What makes a poem “succeed”? We focus on each poetic element in two-week units, discussing various ancient & contemporary examples from the readings. The primary focus is discussion, although the course also includes journal exercises and brief essays.
Fundamentals of Contemporary Fiction / Anthony Connolly:
It is hard to describe. I have an idea of the beginning. I write the first line and continue to the last. I correct a great deal, work hard and write several drafts, but I never question the finished work – Alain Robbe-Grillet
Producing fiction, let alone defining its process, can be difficult. There are so many paths to the top of that mountain. But what is less shrouded in mystery is the equipment a writer needs – Stephen King famously calls them tools for the toolbox.
This course provides the tools that all writers need to get the words on the page. Acquiring these tools means exploring the expansive boundaries and the foundational principles of current long and short prose fiction in order to prepare writers for today’s art form.
- How to establish a strong and regular writing practice
- Exploring the principles of fiction
- Mastering the power of details
- Developing rich characters
- Discovering the tricks of plotting
- Creating effective dialogue
- Structuring prose for maximum effect
- Establishing and using point of view
- Serving to launch the writer out into the larger community of fellow writers and readers
And throughout all of this exploring, developing, and establishing – writing of course; and remember, “you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great,” wrote Joe Saba.
So let’s start.
Adv Studies in Contemporary Fiction / Anthony Connolly:
This eleven-week course is for the skilled fiction writer who wants to up their game. Each week the course will offer a new craft technique to produce prose with publication as the goal. Advanced Studies in Contemporary Fiction prepares students to work within historical and current creative writing practices and provides a supportive environment to refine their short stories, novellas or novels.
The Lyric Essay / Anthony Connolly:
The lyric essay is at the forefront of innovative writing melding the best of poetry with the best of essay composition. If a stand alone essay is said to be the autobiography of a thought and poetry the sound of experience then a lyric essay is a symphony of your brain. It looks like prose, but reads like music; it's composed like painting, but dries much quicker and you don't have to wear a smock. A lyric essay is connotative rather than denotative; it raises more questions than it answers; it's associative rather definitive; and it's beautifully fragmentary. It free-falls with juxtaposition and folly. A close cousin to the prose poem, the lyric essay is a short work of prose designed to illustrate not only what the writer is thinking, but perhaps more importantly how the writer thought what they were thinking. A lyric essay reveals how you view the world.
It's actually a classic essay form, dating back to antiquity, but under a different name; today, lyric essay is one of the major reasons why creative nonfiction is tres hot. For an example, read my lyric essay "Through The Hands of Strangers": http://tinyurl.com/lzm3s93
Flash Fiction / Mary Anderson:
Writing good flash fiction has been defined as structuring words so that they “consume themselves like ice melting on a stove.” Bring truth to your storytelling by wielding the sudden twist, suggesting a lyrical nuance, and beginning in the middle of your scenes. Through a series of readings, exercises, and workshopping in this flash fiction course, you will experiment with capturing discrete moments in time, writing slice-of-life vignettes, and streaking the sky with comets!
Prose Collection: Fiction: Alice Munro / Mary Anderson
Dare to write about the ordinary. Learn to craft short stories with the impact of a novel. Come read and study Dear Life, the latest stories by Alice Munro, as we examine this beloved, award-winning, Canadian writer’s “unparalleled gift for storytelling.” Try your own hand at writing your way through clarity and into vision.
Prose Collection: Richard Ford / Mary Anderson:
To paraphrase The Paris Review (No. 147), Richard Ford’s much acclaimed collection of short stories, Rock Springs, established him as a master of the genre. Ford consciously concentrates on the distinctions among such fictive concerns as narrative strategy, setting, character types, plots, point of view, and dramatic structure.
This class will investigate, analyze, and inhale two short story collections from different periods of Ford’s writing career. You will also look at your own writing in relation to Ford’s in order to enhance your working knowledge of accessible fiction and add to your collection of writing techniques.
Ford continues to write award-winning fiction in part for the reader he was at nineteen, and for the language—“To me, it’s the thought that you can make something out of words, which organizes experience in the way Faulkner is talking about when he says that “literature stops life for the purpose of examining it.” To be able to do that for another person is a good use of your life.”
Personal Essay & Memoir / Catherine Rankovic:
Personal essays and memoirs are the autobiographical branches of creative nonfiction. Expressing feelings and memories is only the first step in the fascinating process of re-creating for your readership an interior world or a world lost in time. In this course students practice and master literary skills such as revision, description, observation, fact-gathering, and dialogue. The goal is work of publishable quality – which means developing the writer’s distinctive “voice” and learning how to write a deeply personal work that can attract and move an audience. We will also be reading and studying published examples of the personal essay and the memoir—and the two are not the same. Along the way we consider questions about privacy and the problems of writing from memory.
Creative Nonfiction Workshop / Catherine Rankovic:
In this group-workshop course, students read, study and discuss examples of excellent creative nonfiction and write four drafts each of two complete essays, finishing the course with two well-crafted and highly polished examples of creative nonfiction. Creative nonfiction, also called "the literature of reality," includes personal essays, memoirs, travel or nature writing, nonfiction narratives, and cultural criticism such as reviews. Individual lessons and writing exercises focus on topic selection, scene writing, observation and description, dialogue reconstruction, describing people, and research on factual material. We aim for work of publishable quality.
Adv Studies Craft of Poetry / Catherine Rankovic
I’d subtitle this course “How to Improve Your Poetry,” or “How to Create Poems that Move Your Readers.” After writing your first draft, which is like a pencil sketch, optimize your poem using classic and modern poetic techniques to create a memorable full-color experience for your reader. The poets who move you have skills, nerve, and techniques; you can be like them. Feedback and revision will support you in acquiring the ability to write poems of consistent quality. You will also learn the lingo. If you don’t know what syllabics or enjambments are, you will learn. Poetry exercises will encourage you to free your imagination. Teaching us via their textbooks are contemporary poets Mary Oliver and Stephen Dobyns.
The Literary Journal [Fiction and/or Poetry and/or Essay] / Beth Mead:
Students enrolled in this journal editing class will read submissions to The Lindenwood Review, discuss them with the class, and vote on them for publication; students will be listed as editorial assistants in TLR. Additional coursework includes describing and analyzing your personal aesthetic as a reader and writer, as well as researching and presenting a literary journal to the class (students enrolled in more than one section will research a different journal for each class). In addition, the publication process will be discussed, and students will be required to submit their own original work to an approved publication by the end of the quarter. To become familiar with our journal, visit the website for TLR at www.lindenwood.edu/lindenwoodReview and click on CurrentIssue to read excerpts.
Prose Collection / Beth Mead (Tobias Wolff/Margaret Atwood/David Sedaris):
Prose Collection class will focus on one collection from a single author (short
story collection or personal essay collection). We will discuss and analyze
each piece from a writer’s perspective, as well as addressing
cohesiveness and the ordering of pieces in a collection. Students will also consider how their observations and insights can be applied to their own writing and a future collection. The Prose Collection is a literature/craft
class; there is no workshop component. Students may take up to three Prose Collection classes as long as each class has a different author focus.
DAVID HOLLINGSWORTH:Adv Fiction Cluster / David Hollingsworth:
This course focuses on the intricacies of fiction writing, from characterization, the logistics of plot and consequences to effective description and dialogue. The techniques explored in class can help writers to develop work that is complete in all areas, firm in foundation, and necessarily concise.
To be a good writer is to be a good reader. We will examine a variety of fiction, learning from the successes and failures of contemporary and classic writers.
Students will be able to workshop two stories throughout the quarter, and will be expected to provide constructive and careful feedback for others. In addition, expect writing prompts each class.
Adv Poetry Cluster / Michael Castro:
Students will become familiar with major writers, trends and issues shaping modern poetry. Elements of poetry—syllable, line, image, sound, rhythm—will be explored through readings and writing exercises. Students will develop their own poetry in a workshop setting.
Scriptwriting Cluster / Peter Carlos:
Scriptwriting Workshop is the study of the process of feature film scriptwriting and its elements: three-act structure, scene building, character, plotting, plot points, universal themes, and professional formatting. Narrative Arc in Film is the study of the high and low points of the dramatic developments, including key plot points, the midpoint, and moments, beats, in a film. Script Analysis is the study of the hero and the hero’s journey, film subtext, and character behavior and dialogue in scripts.
Poetry Cluster / Kelli Allen:
This course will consider poetry’s role in contemporary society. We will explore working definitions of “the poem” “the line” and “meaning.” Expect vigorous discussion on how poetry has changed during the last 50 years. We will consider who is currently publishing, how and where, and what, as writers, we can contribute to the swell of poetry being written and read in a digital age. This course will offer a wide range of contemporary poetry with attention given to specific writers, topics, and themes. Students will have an opportunity to workshop their own poetry every class meeting and will be expected to provide thoughtful and useful feedback on workshop pieces and weekly reading assignments. Come prepared to write, as prompts will also be used in every class. Our objectives are to consider poetry’s function in society and to examine its varying forms, as well as write our own stunning poems and sharpen our editing skills through workshop and outside projects.
Narrative Journalism Cluster / Kelli Allen:
This course is concerned with what happens when we combine the best qualities of journalism and literature. During the quarter we will explore the journalistic, historical, and critical notions that make up the idea of “literary journalism” as we read and analyze many of the best literary journalistic pieces from the mid-1800s to present. We will spend much of our time together discussing how form and content (structure and method) can blend together to create outstanding (mostly) factual literature.
This course will refer to work as far back as the 18th century to some of the literary antecedents to what Tom Wolfe - and others before and after him - have called the "New Journalism." We will read, analyze, respond in written form, and discuss the works of many different literary journalists (and commentators on literary journalism) from the time of New Journalism to present day.
The purpose of our course is to understand how content is written using fiction techniques (sometimes in radical, wild, and very unconventional ways) to create a new kind of literature—one which is at once journalistic –and- narrative. Narrative journalism, when done well and with relevance, creates an excited and important departure from journalistic norms.
This course will explore (among other topics):
1. Literary journalism's historical roots and founders (the “trailblazers”)
2. Literary journalism's present and future in the digital age (so much information, so little ability to sift through it all for “the truth”).
3. Criticism literary journalism receives, positive and not.
4. Theories behind this genre and how we apply for ill or good.
5. Techniques that comprise, shape, and define this genre (think fiction).
6. Using our own (your) writing skills to craft pieces of great literary journalism
What we will do in this course (readings, minimal lecture, maximal discussion, analysis and writing) is intended to give you a perspective of journalism in general and its broader societal and global importance-- especially as it pertains to democracy, open communication, compassion, and multicultural experience.
In addition to our readings from the three texts, we will discuss brief pieces I bring in to use as comparison against topics we are discussing and as bolster to your own workshop pieces. We will be reading –a lot- in this course, as absorbing others’ work is the very best way to craft your won with grace and excitement. Be prepared to write, read, discuss, and write some more every single class meeting. I expect to hear each of your voices—no one is exempt from discussion.