Eng 461 Crash Course in a Novel

Course Description:

Prerequisite: ENG 203, Senior Status

Catalog Entry: In the first semester, students will acquaint themselves with primary and secondary sources, engage in collaborative exchange appropriate to the seminar topic, develop a bibliography, and write a prospectus for the seminar paper.

Syllabis Description: This two-semester course will provide the beginning novelist with structure, support, and guidance vital to sustained writing, with a focus on establishing goals and effectively using critique sessions with instructor and peers. We’ll also spend time each week discussing problems of novel writing. These problems (and possible solutions) might have to do with technique (characterization, point of view, setting, voice, plot, structure, progression, etc.), with time management, with the writer’s nature, or with audiences and markets for novels. We will also read and discuss other contemporary writers’ novellas and discuss their handling of these issues. The first semester will consist of reading and discussing outside works as well as constructing a drafting process, then focus on revision. *This description and other details can be found at: http://www.easternct.edu/english/documents/ENG461Fall2011Torockio.pdf*


For the first half of this semester this class discussed the works of many current fiction authors that included names like Tobias Wolff, Charles Baxter, James Baldwin, Lorrie Moore, Richard Bausch, and a few others. Amidst these works I felt that there was a range of styles presented and they helped approach problems such as point of view, but there was no variety when it came to genre. They were all novellas but they were all also realistic fiction with no genres such as fantasy, romance, sci-fi, and all the other genres. While I know it is impossible to cover all genres I would have liked to read at least one fantasy. Once the semester progressed I chose to use NaNoWrimo to help spur my creativity and give me a little extra pressure (for an explanation of NaNoWrimo click here).

Final Grade: A

Credits: 3.00

Sample Assignments:


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