A true work of fiction . . .

A true work of fiction does all of the following things, and does them elegantly, efficiently: it creates a vivid and continuous dream in the reader’s mind; it is implicitly philosophical; it fulfills or at least deals with all of the expectations it sets up; and it strikes us, in the end, not simply as a thing done but as a shining performance.

~John Gardner, “What Writers Do”

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2250 Final exam Fall 2019

The final exam is worth fifteen points. The late paper policy as described by the syllabus applies to the final exam. Turn the exam in by emailing it to me before it is due. It is due by the end of the final exam period. Be sure to include your name, “2250,” and the phrase “final exam” in the subject line of the email.

For the final exam, submit a set of poems and one short story for publication and document those submissions. As you are researching venues for publication, be sure to select venues that are likely to publish your work. Pick publications that will email you an acknowledgment of your submission. Most will do so automatically, but receiving an acknowledgement is your responsibility. For the final, email a copy of each acknowledgment to me following the guidelines above. Newpages.com can help you find venues for publication. Submittable.com is often a part of the submission process, as I demonstrated in class.

If you have questions about this final, please contact me.

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4420 Final exam Fall 2019

This final exam is worth fifteen points.

As we’ve discussed, the exam consists of you identifying three potential markets for your novella. Each potential market should have a brief paragraph devoted to it, explaining why it is a good fit for your work.

The final exam is due on or before Wednesday, the 11th of December, at 12:50 pm. It will be late after that time and the late policy as described on the syllabus will take effect. Exams should be emailed.

Your entire exam should be no less than a double-spaced page but no more than three (or between 250 and 750 words). Please email me if you have questions. I’m looking forward to reading your work.

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2010 Final exam Fall 2019

This final exam is worth fifteen points.

As we’ve discussed during the semester, the exam consists of you sending your final proposal to your audience.

To demonstrate that you have sent it, either CC or BCC me on an email to your audience, or have me watch you put a hard copy into an addressed, stamped envelope. Once the envelope is sealed, I’ll put it in the mail for you.

The late paper policy, as written on the syllabus, applies to the final exam. Turn the exam in on time by demonstrating you’ve sent it before the end of the final exam period which corresponds to your section number. The exam times are listed at the end of the syllabus. As long as I’m CC’ed, emailing the final exam demonstrates that you’ve sent it. My witnessing your sealing of the letter demonstrates that you’ve sent it as well.

As I grade your final I will look for typos and similar errors and for either the proposal itself or a cover letter in the body of the email. If the body of the email contains a cover letter, an attachment containing the proposal should be included. In the email has an attachment, it should also have a cover letter. The cover letter or the proposal should have an appropriate salutation and signature line.

I will be in my office (CB 407 F) during the final exam period if you need to visit with me in person.

If you have questions about any of this, please contact me.

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Two examples of synthesis

Let’s take a look at these two synthesis examples.

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Reading as a writer: “The Wig”

Consider these questions about this story.

  • What did you learn about characterization from the story?
  • Describe power shifts that lead toward the crisis moment.
  • Which fiction writing technique was best exemplified in the story? Why?
  • How might you apply a technique exemplified by the story in your own work?
  • What technique does the story inspire you to avoid? Why?
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What “Make It New” means . . .

Creole began to tell us what the blues are all about. They were not about anything very new. He and his boys up there were keeping it new, at the risk of ruin, destruction, madness, and death, in order to find new ways to make us listen. For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness.

~James Baldwin and “Sonny’s Blues” as read by Margot Livesay and The Hidden Machinery

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Revising openings

Consider these opening strategies for the beginnings of stories, but consider them as ways of revising the beginnings of chapters or sections within your novella. They are part of the ever excellent Metro: Journeys in Writing Creatively.

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Toward revision

Consider this exercise from the making of a story by Alice LaPlante:

  • Write about an event in your character’s past without which the current situation couldn’t exist.
  • Write about the current situation from the point of view of a character looking back from ten years in the future.
  • Make a list of the things that won’t happen to the characters as a result of the current situation. (554)

Write a note to yourself about how knowledge from this exercise might inform your revision plans.

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The mystery in your draft

Consider exercise #197 from The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley:

Embracing the mystery. Write a brief description of something you do not understand about the story or novel you are working on. It is quite likely you’ll begin to understand this mystery as you write it down, but try to avoid coming to a conclusion as long as possible. Describe the mystery as carefully as you can, leaving out explanations and rationalizations. (239)

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