2023 HS207: Scholastic Competition Writing Workshop

Sunday 5:00-6:30PM (11/5-11/26)

Instructor: Joanna Liu  / joannaliu47@gmail.com 

Instructor’s Profile Click here to view Joanna Liu's Profile

Course Description:
This class is designed for students with intermediate to advanced knowledge in creative writing or students interested in submitting to the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. The course will focus on memoir, fiction, and poetry, taking students through winning pieces and teaching them writing techniques tailored to scholastic. At the end of the course, students should expect to produce 2-3 polished pieces for submission to the contest. There will also be optional private sessions where students can meet with a teacher to discuss their work, or work privately in a Zoom meeting. 

Grading Policy
Homework = 50%, Final Portfolio = 50%

Week 1: Writing & Brainstorm for the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
After discussing course expectations, we will briefly introduce the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards before discussing the importance of theme, voice, originality, technique, and other essential devices when submitting to the competition. Then, we’ll discuss some brainstorming prompts and writing exercises students will use when writing their pieces. 

  1. Chose 5 pieces from the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and write a 50-100 word paragraph on each explaining what it does well in terms of theme, voice, originality, and technique. 
  2. Try 2-3 of the Generative Writing Exercises we learned in class. 

Week 2:  Poetry  (Minimum 20 lines)
Writing in verse. May include but is not limited to prose poetry, free verse, formal poetry, song lyrics, and spoken word.

In today’s class, we’ll delve into the workings of poetry through a close-analysis of the following two pieces, Tonight, in Oakland by Danez Smith and Halal Store by Sarah Fatima Mohamed. We’ll focus on imagery, enjabment/line break, voice, and more, before diving into practice prompts teaching students to apply these poetic skills. 

  1. Read & Close Annotate the pieces, The Contract Says: We'd Like the Conversation to be Bilingual by Ada Limon and Home Wrecker by Ocean Vuong
  2. Draft 1-2 poems (20-40 lines each) [Prompt TBD]  

Week 3:  Fiction
For fiction, we’ll analyze the two pieces here while discussing how to build a compelling story through the usage of plot, character dynamics, conflict, and other literary devices. Then, we’ll work together as a class to plot our own fiction pieces. 

  1. Close annotate the fiction piece Saviors, Spells, and American Tragedies by Ra’Niqua Lee 
  2. Draft a flash fiction (Highly focused stories characterized by brevity with maxicum of 1000 words)  / or Short Story Piece (A fictional narrative written in prose:500–3,000 words)  . 

Week 4:  Creative Nonfiction 
To learn about the craft of Personal Essay & Memoir (500–3,000 words), also known as creative nonfiction, we’ll go over principles introduced in Mary Karr’s The Art of Memoir while annotating the piece Driving Lessons from My Brother by Maryam Ahmad. Then, we’ll work together to draw up experiences from our lives and write a creative nonfiction piece.  

  1. Draft a creative nonfiction piece that is 600-1,500 words. 
  2. Compile and submit portfolio (including revisions), along with a 250 word artist’s statement (showing how you grew and developed your writing during the course). 

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