Crw 2100: Fiction

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CRW 2100 Syllabus & Schedule

Section 0121

CRW 2100: Fiction Writing

Instructor: James (Jim) Cooney


Section 0121: Monday, periods 10-E1 (5:10 – 8:10 PM)*

Location: Matherly Hall (MAT) Room 51

Office hours: Monday, 2:55 – 4:55 PM, at Library West (in the ground-floor lounge across from Starbucks); also by appointment (e-mail to schedule)
*Technically class is scheduled for three hours, including two 15-minute breaks. If there are no objections (please contact the instructor otherwise) we will take one 15-minute break, so that class ends by 7:55 PM.

"There may never be anything new to say, but there is always a new way to say it."
Flannery O'Connor


Required Texts
· Writing Fiction, 8th Edition1 Janet Burroway

· Course Pack for CRW 21002 (Section 2333) – Compiled by instructor

· Fight Club (a novel) – Chuck Palahniuk

· Writing Tools3 – Roy Peter Clark

1 The Burroway book, though worth every penny, is expensive. I recommend a used copy, available on for ~50 dollars (free 2-day shipping for students).

2 The course pack is available through Book It (; (352) 371-9588). Free shipping is

available but it's faster to simply pick it up at the store, located at 1250 West University Ave, Unit 2

(the store actually faces 13th Street; there is a green awning around the entire hotel, and there is

lettering above the store that simply says "Buy Back."

3 The Clark book is a style guide, useful to you in all kinds of writing, not just fiction.

Course Objectives
The purpose of the course is to make you a better writer of fiction and get you excited

about the creative process. You will submit your own stories to be criticized in a workshop setting (twice in a "mini-workshop" and once in a full workshop). You will learn how to give valuable feedback to your peers on their work, and in so doing, become a better critic of your own work and a better writer.

Also, because reflective reading is vital to improving your own prose, this class also serves as an introduction to the study of literature. We will read (and sometimes listen to) various works of published short fiction plus one novel. We will analyze these stories from the perspective of writers, examining how they work in terms of structure and style.

The first half of the semester will be devoted to a discussion of the basic elements of fiction. We will discuss assigned readings in the textbook and the style guide, as well as the assigned stories that you have analyzed in your Craft Analysis essays. We will participate in various creative writing exercises, and examine early drafts of your stories in two "mini- workshops," for which you will divide up into small groups.
The second half of the semester will be more of a traditional fiction workshop, in which we apply the critical skills we've honed to our own work and the work of our peers. We'll continue creative writing exercises and critical discussions of published stories, but shall dedicate ample class time to critique the students' creative work.

Writing requirement (WR) & Composition credit (C)
This course can satisfy the General Education requirement for Composition. For more information, see:
This course can provide 6000 words toward fulfillment of the UF requirement for writing. For more information, see:

Course Format
Reading – We'll read the textbook (Burroway), selections from style guide (Clark), a variety of wonderful short stories, and one novel. Note: The stories assigned early in the semester will numerous but of shorter length, in order to give you an idea of how long the stories you write for this class should be. Later in the semester we'll read longer stories.
Writing This includes Craft Analysis essays, creative writing exercises (some in class and some at home), short critique letters for your classmates, and two very short stories, one of which you will revise extensively.
Critiquing – You will critique both published stories and the work of your peers, in writing (as pointed out above), and in class discussion.

Assignments & Grading
UF has recently instituted minus grades. As a result, letter grades now have different grade point equivalencies. For more information, see:
Grading for this course is based on a 1,000-point system. Your final letter grade will be determined according to the following scale.





































· Craft Analysis essays (425 points): This includes 7 short essays (50 points each) and one longer essay (75 points).

· Short story drafts (200 points): This includes rough drafts of two different stories, plus a workshop draft and a revised draft of one of those stories (50 points per draft).
· Class participation (225 points): This includes
- substantive critique letters on your classmates' work (8 points each)

- fully-prepared participation in each mini-workshop (20 points each)

- (optional) conference with instructor (+5 extra credit points)

- the points remaining (~30-60 points, depending

on number of students enrolled) are awarded according to

your general level of participation in class discussions plus

the occasional, at-home writing assignment.

· Reading quizzes (150 points): These will be administered at the start of every class, so it is important that you show up on time. If you're late, or absent, you cannot make up the quiz. Your two lowest quiz grades will be dropped at the end of the course.

Craft Analysis Essays
You are required to write 7 short (700-word minimum) and one long (1,200-word minimum) Craft Analysis essays. This will add up to just over 6,000 words of critical analysis, thereby fulfilling the "Gordon Rule" writing requirement.
Essays will focus specifically on analyzing techniques and craft in fiction writing. They are not intended as works of literary criticism generally—your instructor will further explain this distinction in class, and will provide specific requirements and guidelines for writing these essays. The topic of each essay (e.g. fictional time, dialogue, etc.) will correspond with the techniques we read about each week in the Burroway text, which you will apply to one of the short stories (your choice) we have read for that week. The longer, final essay will focus on the novel Fight Club, and the craft topic will be your choice.
Make-up essays: You will notice on the schedule that, for the sake of flexibility, I will accept one "make-up" essay in Week 13, and again in Week 14. This means you may skip up to two essays earlier in the semester and make it up during these weeks. Please note that your make-up essay must be on the topic you missed (e.g. point of view); you may, however, choose stories from the current week or from the week you missed.
Revised essays: You may, alternatively, use a make-up week to submit a revised draft of any short essay. The essay must improve by at least one letter grade or it will not count. The new grade will replace the old one.
Please note you may only submit one essay each of these weeks, so you cannot submit both a make-up and a revision at the same time. Make-up essays should obviously take priority. Also note that, whether or not you write an essay, you are always responsible for reading the stories assigned for that week.
Rubric for evaluating Craft Analysis essays

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