This course will explore a specific genre of nonfiction in depth. Class will operate as an advanced writing workshop that uses master works as models and inspiration. Offerings might include profiles, travel writing, personal essays, reviews, memoir, nature writing or literary nonfiction. Prerequisite: ENG 201.
|ENG 201||1 course|
Current Semester InformationGregory Schwipps
Creative Non-Fiction: Nature Writing
Creative nonfiction, like fiction or poetry, is a type of creative writing. As such, it uses the tools of the creative writer: figurative language (similes, metaphors), dialogue, flashbacks, scenes, frames - in short, tools that increase the dramatic effect of a piece of writing. Various types of creative nonfiction exist: personal essays, articles, travel accounts, profiles, memoirs and narrative histories. We will read quite a bit to gain a sense of the genre and its possibilities. Class discussions over the reading material should provide insight into your own writing options. But, as a writing course, much of our class time will be spent workshopping the written work of your peers. Not everything you write will be workshopped; some projects you will want to keep fairly private. Creative nonfiction tends to be misunderstood, even though it is growing in popularity and scope. My main objective in this course is to expose students to the genre and give them practical experience writing it.
Writing in any genre will often require you to capture and present the natural world. For example, a character in a novel who lives on a ranch in Wyoming and raises cattle lives a daily existence with almost no line between artificial and natural, and the writing must make every natural event believable to the reader. Even the act of writing a poem about a snowstorm requires a poet with some sense of the outside world. In this class, you will write essays, profiles, travel pieces and articles about the natural world. We can interpret "nature" loosely - after all, there are no clear boundaries between civilization and nature.