Creative Writing Workshop

Teacher: Katie Schofield
Extra Help: Tuesdays, Room 304, from 3-4pm

Creative Writing Workshop Spring 2014

Course Overview


Write about what makes you different. ~ Sandra Cisneros


Writing is its own reward. Henry Miller


If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.   Toni Morrison


In this writing workshop, you may not write the next great novel, but you will write meaningful flash fiction, short stories, non-fiction and potentially poetry.  We all have a writer within us with ideas to express. By using descriptive, creative writing, both professional examples and our own, expect to grow as an overall writer and strengthen your communication skills.  As an inclusive, thoughtful, and respectful class, we will construct and convey meaning though the writing process and finished pieces.   We will explore new ideas, new methods, and new styles and consistently connect our writing pieces with the writing of others and the broader world.  Be prepared to write!


Essential Questions:

What are the questions good writers ask themselves?

            What matters?

            When am I done?

            How can I grow as a writer?

            What is my writing process?

            How can I improve my writing?

            How can reading great authors improve my writing?

            How can I use my experiences and memories as effective content?

How can I use the writing process, conferences, and peer-review to revise my writing?



Unit I: Micro/Flash fiction

We will start off the semester by learning how to hone our writing down to what is essential and getting accustomed to the routines of a writing workshop.   Skills taught and practiced may include: story arc, descriptive and effective details, peer review and editing, giving and receiving feedback.


Assessment: Two flash fiction pieces (100-200 words). 


Unit II: Short Stories

Continuing with fiction, students will write substantial short stories with compelling character and plot development.  Skills taught and practiced may include: Reflection, character development, establishing points of view, grammar, conventions, vocabulary.


Assessment: 4 single spaced pages of a short story (8 double spaced).  Could be one 4-page short story, or 2 2-page stories.


Unit III: Creative Non-Fiction

You now know how to write an engaging fictional piece—can you apply the same techniques to non-fiction?  We will pull stories from our own lives and write personal narratives.   Skills taught and practiced may include: narrative techniques, such as dialogue, pacing, description, reflection, and multiple plot lines, finding the deeper meaning, development of experiences, events, and characters.


Assessment: 4 single spaced pages of a creative non-fiction story (8 double spaced).  Could be one 4-page short story, or 2 2-page stories.


Final Independent Assessment: Using the forms and skills practiced throughout the semester, students will prepare approximately 6-10 pages of creative writing of your choice (new material, but could be based on free writes or “pages” from class). This assessment cannot be revised.


Throughout the units:

Practice skills through individual writing “pages” (ex: hooks, characters, imagery)

Write and read poetry

Keep a journal: Free writes, brainstorms, drafts, ideas

Review, edit, discuss, and share our work with one another



Assessments will be graded on the following four writing workshops strands:

Content (30%): development of ideas, engaging and relevant details, description, dialogue, balance, imagery, development of characters and events, personal style, meaning,

Structure (30%): Organizational clarity, smooth sequencing of events, strong introduction and conclusion, point of view, re-structuring if feedback requires it (does it make sense to you but not to others?)

Language and Conventions (15%): grammar, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, word choice and tone to match audience, editing/proofreading for proper conventions during revision and editing process.

Work Habits (25%): Completing all assignments on time, from homework to final assessments, effort and diligence in writing in class and at home, using time effectively, increasing writing stamina and writing over extended time frames, seeking help from others, overcoming challenges



While all students will be writing consistently and energetically, the honors option allows students to challenge themselves by submitting an additional piece of flash fiction, two single spaced pages of both short stories and personal narratives, and approximately two to four pages of the final assessment.  Students will select a piece of writing to present at exhibition night and must work with other Honors students to organize displays and presentations on exhibition night.  Honors students must maintain an average above 80% and as well as act as a consistent classroom leader to qualify.  If work is completed successfully you will receive honors credit.




POLICIES (see student handbook for extended explanations):


Class Expectations

In order for this course to be a meaningful experience for all of us, please:


·                 Come on time and prepared.  Always bring your writing materials/journal.

·                 Listen to others in class with engagement and respect.  Be kind.

·                 Don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts or writing!

·                 Ask for help when you need it.

·                 Complete assignments on time and with effort.

·                 Do NOT bring phones or electronics of any sort into class (except by special arrangement).  If I see one, I will take it to Tina.


Risk taking and respect

You will be sharing your writing in this class.  That means that everybody needs to feel safe and respected.  It is important that we give both others and ourselves permission to take risks, and that we be enthusiastically, critically, supportively engaged in one another's process. 


Academic Honesty

Plagiarism is claiming someone else’s words or ideas as your own. That means:

-       copying/ pasting something from the internet, another source, or another student without quote marks and citation

·                 paraphrasing something from any source without citation

·                 submitting work that has already been submitted in another class


When in doubt, CITE!  If it’s in the gray area, it IS plagiarism.   For more information on the Academic Honesty policy, please refer to the student handbook.  Please know that I will take cases of plagiarism to Mr. Orpen with the first offense.


Late Work Policy/Extra Credit Policy

In order for an assignment to be eligible for revision and to receive full credit, it must be turned in on time.   If you need an extension, you must communicate with Ms. Schofield at least 24 hours in advance of the class when the assignment is due. 


Late work is accepted up to two weeks after the due date, but the grade will suffer.  You have one week to hand in work with only a work habits penalty and two weeks to receive credit in all strands.


At the end of the semester the lowest work habits grade is dropped to account for emergency circumstances.  If you are failing the course due to missing work, you may complete honors work for extra credit but I will not create additional work.


Extra Help

Please come see me for extra help! I am available on Tuesday afternoons from 3-4 pm or by appointment.  Contact me at