Catron Creative Writing Syllabus: 1

Catron Creative Writing Syllabus: 1

Catron—Creative Writing Syllabus: 1

Creative Writing Spring 2008

Homework Webstie:

“Creative Writers are always greater than the causes that they represent.”—E.M. Forrester

“Writers are a little below clowns and a little above trained seals.”—John Steinbeck

Course Description: Creative Writing provides students with an intensive, advanced, writing course which requires self-discipline and a willingness to work to grow as a writer. In order to write, and write well, one must read; this document will address that aspect of the course as well. You will write various pieces of prose and poetry and perform multiple revisions and criticisms of each. This course expects students enrolled found success in Honors 10 English, English 11, or higher level course and understand the challenge of producing good writing.

Resources: Fiction Writer’s Workshop—Josip Novakovich, Writing Fiction Step-by-Step—Josip Novakovich, Poetry Writing: Theme and Variations—David Starkey, Assorted Supplemental texts,

Materials Required:

  • Writing utensil (Pencil or blue or black pen)
  • Hi-lighter
  • Editing utensil (Red or green pen)
  • Writer’s Notebook (see later page) <No Spiral Bound Notebooks>
  • Two-pocket folder with your name clearly legible on the front cover (for final submissions)
  • 3-ring notebook with tabbed dividers (see later page)

Course Outcomes

  1. Students will compose and evaluate a variety of genre/modes of writing
  2. Students will read, understand, analyze, and evaluate a variety of text as models of good writing
  3. Students will develop and apply appropriate speaking and listening skills in a variety of settings

Course Requirements

  • Reading
  • Independent (student choice of novel, short story, poetry, and drama)
  • SSR every Wednesday (student election within parameters of the unit)
  • Required “Focus” Selections (from class text and provided materials)
  • Writing
  • Invitations (informal, in-class, daily exercises)
  • Poetry (typed, multiple drafts, following specific guidelines)
  • Fiction (typed multiple drafts, following specific guidelines)
  • Character Sketch
  • Dialogue
  • Setting/Description
  • Point of View
  • Short Story
  • Script or Screenplay
  • (assignments may be omitted due to time constraints)

  • Sharing
  • Peer to peer
  • Small Group
  • Whole Class
  • Author’s Chair
  • Teacher Conference
  • Outside peer
  • Scheherazade
  • Class Album
  • Participation (A participation grade will appear at each grade report)
  • Informal sharing of invitation writing
  • SSR (every Wednesday) bring your own materials, complete log
  • Draft Workshops
  • Out of Class preparation
  • Writing Portfolio
  • 2 completed, revised, and refined poems
  • One original short story (5-7 pages)
  • Self-Assessment and Reflection Essay


  • District grading scale
  • 100-93 A
  • 92-85 B
  • 84-77 C
  • 76-69 D
  • 68-0 F
  • Grading Categories and weights
  • Participation/Reading: 10%
  • Sharing, SSR, Drafting
  • Writer’s Notebook: 20%
  • Invitations and In-class Exercises ~5-10 entries/week
  • Writing Portfolio: 20%
  • See above
  • Writing Process: 50%
  • pre-writing, rough, revision, final


  • No late work is accepted. Any daily assignment, notebook entry, draft, etc. not submitted when called for will receive a zero.
  • Major projects (final drafts) will be accepted late with a 1 grade penalty per day. A paper which would earn an A submitted 1 day late earns a B, 2 days late a C, 3 days late a D.
  • All late papers will be graded without teacher comments
  • Final papers submitted without evidence of multiple drafts with significant revision and responses to peer comments will suffer a minimum of 1 grade penalty.
  • If you are ill the day a major paper is due, email it directly to me: , or submit it to (if appropriate). If neither of these options suffices, have someone bring the assignment to school for you before that day.


  • When a student misses class for ANY reason, it becomes the student’s responsibility to make arrangements to complete makeup work. I will not find you and tell you what you missed. Students missing for unexpected, excused reasons (illness, family emergency) have one school day per day of absence to complete makeup work. If you are gone for more than 3 consecutive days, make arrangements with me or a classmate to get assignments. Check my Homework Blog Daily!
  • Students who miss class for a school-related or otherwise planned reason (sports, vacations, activities, etc.) must make arrangements to get their assignments BEFORE the absence. I have the option of requiring assignment completion before your absence. If you do not notify me of upcoming, planned, excused absences, any work not completed on time will be considered late.


  • School policies enforced.
  • Tardiness will substantially affect your participation and writer’s notebook grades.

Classroom Rules/Guidelines (behavior expectations)

  • Be on time.
  • Begin working on opening activity by the time the class bell rings
  • Be quiet and attentive when others are talking
  • Do what you are asked to do the first time
  • Come to class with all your materials
  • Do not move to the door before the bell rings, or after for that matter. I will dismiss you.
  • No FOOD in class AT ALL.
  • No Beverages in class except Water bottles with Screw caps
  • Put the room back in order before leaving. Clean up trash around your tables.
  • SPECIAL NOTE: I am highly allergic to fragrances. Do not apply scented lotion, perfumes, body sprays, etc in my classroom, neither apply a fresh coat of smell before coming to class. Certain fragrances pose a risk to my health. If you must use a skin lotion, please use an unscented variety.

Paper Submission Format:

  • Formal Submissions and Final Drafts must follow MLA submission Format
  • Top left, Double Spaced
  • Your Name
  • My Name,
  • Class and Block number and Assignment Title
  • Date in day month year format: eg. 07 January 2008
  • Title
  • One Double-space below the Top Left, Centered. Story titles are underlined OR italicized. Poetry and essay titles are plain. NO fanciness.
  • Header
  • The Header of your page is Right Justified and includes your last name and page number
  • Format
  • Set all margins to 1” (standard default is 1.25” on left and right margins; you need to change this)
  • Use Times, or Times New Roman type-face in 12 pt font.
  • Print in black ink on white paper
  • Double Space evenly throughout ENTIRE paper.

If a paper does not abide by submission guidelines I will return it to you and count it late. You must resubmit in proper format.


  • Read and save the attached definition of plagiarism. Any academic dishonesty in this class will not be tolerated. You must do your own work, you must acknowledge outside sources when appropriate. The first offense of plagiarism will result in a zero on the assignment and an office referral. A second offense will result in failure in the course a possible suspension or expulsion from school and school activities. I will do everything I can to punish academically dishonest students. This is CREATIVE WRITING—it’s okay to lie in your stories—just make the lies your own.

Technology Policy:

  • I will be lenient on late work due to technology difficulties. The school provides several printers in the morning and evening if your home PC isn’t working. Additionally, Omaha has several public libraries and Fed/Ex Kinkos, UPS stores which will provide you with whatever resources you need to backup, submit, and complete your assignments on time. Save your work in multiple places, email it to me, print a hardcopy. In the even of an extreme technology emergency I expect a phone call from a parent to explain the situation and a plan of action regarding completing the assignment.

Draft Workshops:

  • This class revolves around peer drafting and revision workshops. While I will offer feedback on some of every student’s writing, the bulk of revision will be in small group or pair discussions. These workshops are designed to help you develop the skills you need to detect strengths and weaknesses in your and others’ writing. Attendance and participation on these days is essential to success in the course. On draft workshop days bring 2 typed copies of complete drafts. This does not mean to bring an outline or a few paragraphs, but a complete draft—no matter how rough. When you submit your final piece you must include ALL copies of “commented-on” drafts.


Parents:Student Name:______

Please read this syllabus and sign the slip below to indicate you understand the requirements for the course. If you have any questions about the class feel free to contact me at West or email me: . Should the need arise, if you would prefer to be contacted by email rather than phone, add your email address to the form as well.

Parent Name:______Signature:______

Email address:______


return this completed form, it will be graded.