English 151/2/3 20 points About the Weekly Writing Assignments

English 151/2/3
About the Weekly Writing Assignments
Weekly Writing Assignments 1-4
20 points
The Weekly Writing Assignments have three parts. Staple them together in the order
below, from top to bottom:
1. The Reflection
2. The Assignment itself
3. Any notes and drafts
1. The Reflection
Format: word-processed and double-spaced.
Length: 150-250 words (about a page).
What it is: In this reflection, discuss your process of writing this piece. I want to know
about what went into your writing, and about your engagement with all aspects of the
writing process—generating, drafting, re-drafting, revising, editing, etc. Use the following
questions as prompts, focusing on any of them that seem appropriate for your writing.
 What do you like best about this piece?
 What are you still dissatisfied with?
 How did you get started on the assignment?
 What changes did you make as you worked on it? Why?
 Discuss your drafting and revision process.
 How did you feel while writing it?
 Were there any places where you got stuck? What did you do?
 How did the readings in the textbooks affect your writing?
 What was most engaging/least engaging about the assignment?
 What feedback did you get and what did you think about that feedback?
 How did you use the feedback, if you used it?
 Did you have a particular intention for the piece?
 Did the intention change?
 What specific feedback would you like from the instructor?
2. The Assignment Itself
Format: word-processed. Fiction should be double-spaced, and poetry can be either
single or double-spaced.
Length: This will be variable, depending on the assignment, but fiction should usually be
2-4 pages. Poetry is much harder to gauge, and besides, some forms have specific
line requirements. Generally, since the assignments are based on poems in the
book, you can use those specific poems as guidelines. In general, for both poetry
and fiction, generate a lot of material for your drafts, and then pare that down for
your completed assignment.
The Assignment: Specific assignments are given for each week. You will receive detailed
assignment sheets.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many drafts of the assignment should I write before I turn it in? It is expected that
you will work, struggle, practice, and experiment to turn in for your weekly writing a piece
that has been through several versions, that is as fine and full as you can get it on your
own. Please ask for help and advice with taking your initial drafts further!
Does grammar count? All unconventionalities and errors should be explained by the
requirements of tone and form and character. (You can discuss this in your Reflection if you
are purposely using odd grammar or punctuation.) You are expected to proofread your
work. You may find (or be told by me) that you need to review the basics of English, such as
sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation. Take it upon yourself to do this work on
your own. The English Department often uses The Everyday Writer, by Andrea Lunsford,
and there are many excellent online resources, such as the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at
Purdue. Also, Page One can be very helpful. Many tutors there are expert creative writers.
Are you saying to yourself, “But wait, this is creative writing. I don’t have to worry about
being correct”? For the duration of this class, abandon that idea. You have to master
language so that you can use it for amazing flights and deep plunges. Every nonstandard
usage must serve the work, and will be examined for the degree to which it serves or
Copies and sharing your work: On the Weekly Writing due dates, we’ll have workshop
discussions in which you’ll share your work with a small group. Please bring three copies of
your poem or story to share with the group. One of these copies can be the one you’ll then
turn in to me, with your Reflection, in the portfolio.
Should I Save Drafts? Yes, get used to saving your drafts. For whatever piece you choose to
revise for the Midterm and Final Revisions, you’ll need to turn in your drafts. Also, during
the course of writing an assignment, you may want to go back to early versions.
Three Ways To Save Drafts:
 If you compose on the computer, you can simply save and print out your work after
each work session.
 You can also save drafts by starting a folder for each piece, and, each time you work
on it, saving a new version and titling it with the number of the draft.
 If you write by hand, you’ll have paper copies of your drafts. If you don’t want to
keep the paper around, you can photograph it or scan it and save it.
I’ve never done drafts of my creative work before. How do I get started? Here are some
Freewriting: I often suggest beginning with freewriting, simply spilling out
sentences onto the page. You can mine this material for images or phrases to use in
your final work.
Listing: Sometimes lists can help you begin. Make lists of images, of words, of
sounds, of things your character might say, of memories your character might
Sentence revision: As you draft, you might experiment with different ways of
writing and revising sentences, for example. You might seek more active verbs. You
might develop specific sense-images and substitute them for generalities.
Hard-nosed editing: Let your finished assignment remove every word that doesn’t
contribute to the effect, let it eliminate redundancy, let it replace cliché with
Experiment: Your drafts might be places to experiment with imitating the material
we read. If you notice certain effects in a story or poem, a certain mood, point of
view, or a certain kind of musicality, you might try to imitate that in your own work
to see what happens.
Make notes: may consist of any number of explorations: lists of words, notes on
something you looked up on the internet that you might want to use in your piece,
diagrams you drew of your characters’ interactions, etc.
Use the Reflection: Additionally, your Reflection can discuss your drafting process,
so it will give me some idea of the drafting you did.
The Weekly Writing represents writing that is still in progress, still in its early stages, so it is
not appropriate to grade it for literary quality. Instead, it is graded as follows, for a total of
20 points:
 Reflection, 5 pts: Shows your involvement with the writing process, includes plentiful
detail about your writing process, your drafts, and your decisions and thoughts when
 Engagement with the assignment, 10 pts: You have fully engaged in the constraints
and opportunities of the assignment, using it to discover new ways of writing and
what new things to say.
 Grammar and Proofreading, 5 pts: The assignment itself is free of distracting errors.
Any unconventionality is explained by the needs of voice and character, and serves
the piece as a whole.
To this point grade, I will add my comments about what is most wonderful and delightful in
your work, and I will suggest ways it might be urged to a more fully realized revision.