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Educational Outreach

WTG 100: Popular Nonfiction (interterm, 1 credit, limited enrollment)


Writing for the mainstream press can take many forms, including conventional journalism, narrative journalism, creative nonfiction, and a blend of all three.  Each section of this course focuses on a different kind of writing for the mainstream press.  Taught by experienced professional writers, the different sections offer opportunities to learn aspects of the craft of popular nonfiction writing from the writers who write it. WTG 100 can be repeated for credit three times, provided a different section topic is selected each time.

Sec. 1: Writing About First Times
Taught by Patricia Stacey

First Times. We all have them. Good writing is often about those moments of change when sense, feeling and even thought processes can be heightened. Come write about the first time you, or another, tasted chocolate, ditched class, fell in love, or experienced life anew. Or perhaps you would like to explore a psychological or historical moment of innovation (Curie discovers uranium). Students will read and respond to a variety of creative non-fiction pieces, learn about contemporary techniques and “devices,” do short in-class exercises, consider the demands of various publications, “workshop,” and revise drafts for submission. Enrollment limited to 15. Pending CAP approval.

Meets Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:30 - 12:00, January 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18

Sec. 2: Writing about the Movies
Taught by Brooke Hauser

Describing her approach to reviewing a film, critic Pauline Kael said, "I go into the movie, I watch it, and I ask myself what happened to me." In this class, students will ask themselves the same question and learn how to answer it in a composed, deliberate way. We will examine different styles of movie reviews from a variety of publications. Additionally, we will consider questions about the role of a film critic and the future of film criticism in popular culture.

Meets Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2:30 - 4:00, January 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18

Sec. 3: Writing Family Chronicles
Taught by Judith Hooper

The focus of this class is our family stories. Everyone's experience of family is her own kingdom, and you, the writer, make the rules. Whether you are blessed with transformative aunts or doting grandfathers or weird siblings, whether you are an only child or the youngest of ten, whether you have always wished your family were more ordinary, or less ordinary, this is the place to begin with memoir. The backbone of the class will be a daily writing practice designed to free up "first thoughts" and silence the inner critic.

Meets Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2:30 - 4:00, January 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18

Sec. 4: Nature Writing
Taught by Sam Samuels

This course will give students a guided opportunity to bring the natural world onto the page. Nature writing can be: personal and essayistic; meticulously researched and informative; passionate and politically charged. Students in this class will work on finding their own voice. The course will involve daily in-class writing, required field trips to natural areas, and study of mainstream publications that include nature writing. Students will develop a substantial article or essay on a topic from nature into a finished piece. The class will cover the practical process of getting one's writing about nature published in mainstream magazines and newspapers.

Meets Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:00 - 2:30, January 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18




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