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Azin Arefi - English

EWRT 30, Intro to Creative Writing

EWRT 30 is an introductory creative writing course for students who want to explore and refine their techniques of creative writing, especially prose fiction, through both critical analysis and intensive practice in creative writing.  This class emphasizes the fundamental elements of creative writing: character, conflict, plot, setting and atmosphere, point-of-view, imagery, language, and dialogue. During the first half of the quarter, we will read and discuss published stories, plays, and poetry,  trying to understand how authors make successful use of various literary tools. We will explore elements of fiction with in-class and take-home assignments, using Writing Fiction as a technical guide. The second half of the quarter is devoted to the fiction workshop of your own stories. The ultimate goal of this course is to put the elements of creative writing together in well-crafted stories.

Course Prerequisite:

Eligibility is established through successful completion of or qualifying for EWRT 1A

Course Objectives:

  • Identify the major technical and stylistic elements of diverse literary works and analyze their role in imaginative writing.
  • Recognize the sociocultural context of diverse literary works and apply to analysis of literary style and content.
  • Analyze and critique diverse student and professional examples of literary/imaginative writing.
  • Apply knowledge of creative process, literary elements/techniques, cultural knowledge and self-knowledge, and critical lessons to your own writing.

Course Requirements:

  • Regular attendance and active participation in class discussions
  • Keeping up-to-date on writing assignments and readings.
  • Two stories, one of which will be revised; one dramatic scene, and at least three poems.
  • Manuscript critiques of each student story during workshop.
  • Unannounced quizzes, in-class assignments, and presentations.


Required Texts:

  • Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft
  • Ann Charters, ed., The Story and Its Writer
  • A Course Reader, available at Kwik Kopy, 10675 South De Anza Blvd.

Course Evaluation<o:p></o:p>

The grade break down is shown in the table below:




Story #1


Story #1 (Revised)


Story #2


Dramatic Scene/Poems






Workshop Critiques


Writing Exercises























Course Assignments:

Reading Assignments and Exercises:

Students are expected to keep up with the assigned reading and should be prepared to lead discussions in class. Leadership and participation in these discussions will be reflected in your grade. There will be in-class and take-home writing assignments. In-class writing exercises can be quite brief and fragmentary; take-home exercises are more sustained, formal pieces of writing. Please be prepared to share all writing exercises in class.

Quizzes. The pop quizzes measure your preparation for class and your understanding of class lecture and concepts covered. Quizzes will be given at the beginning of the class period so do not be late.  They are meant to reward you for your preparation and your on-time attendance.

Participation. You are expected to come to this class prepared with paper, pen, appropriate text, having completed the reading and all assignments due, and ready to participate in class discussion. Whether as a class or if you are in small groups, your contribution is required and necessary.  You will be a crucial member of a writing community.


The workshop is the heart of this class and we will discuss it in great detail when the time arrives, but as a general overview: you are to treat one another's work with respect, as you would like yours to be treated; you will point out the positive and make helpful constructive criticism in order to help build the story, not to tear it down; you are to be specific in your comments as generalities such as "I liked the plot" are not helpful. Be honest. Be brave, both in your writing and in your critique.  Students must also provide a one to two page critique of each of the stories being workshopped, and bring two copies, one for me and one for the author.

Course Policies:

Attendance: Attendance every day is required. You should come to class on time, having done the reading and prepared to discuss. Because this is a workshop, your contribution in class is extremely important. Attendance is crucial to the exchange of ideas and words that take place in class. If you have to be absent, please call to excuse yourself.  If you have four (4) unexcused absences, I will assume that you have withdrawn, and give you a W.Absent students will not be able to make up missed in-class assignments. More than three absences are considered excessive and will be reflected in your grade. Repeated tardiness is also unacceptable.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is using someone else’s words or ideas in direct quote, paraphrase, or summary form and submitting them as your own. This class demands originality and honesty.  All work submitted in this class must be your own individual work. I expect no copying or cheating whatsoever, at any time, by any student. Plagiarism may result in automatic failure of the course.

Late work: As a rule, late work will not be accepted. If emergencies arise, please see me in advance of the due date.

Format: Stories and take-home exercises should be typed in 12-point font on regular white paper, double-spaced, with one-inch margins all around. Please include your name, the date and page numbers, and staple when appropriate.

Respect: In class we will be discussing a lot of issues and each individual person's opinion must be respected. You are to listen to each other and be considerate of one another at all times. You can disagree with someone, but always in a respectful manner. It is important that we have a safe classroom environment for sharing our writings and ideas.

Any disruptive or disrespectful behavior to me or to your fellow classmates may be cause for dismissal from the class. As part of respect, please remember to turn off cell phones and pagers, as they are disruptive to the class.                                    


Prose, “Pumpkins”
Burroway: Significant Detail
Burroway: Lamott, "Shitty First Drafts"
Reader: Moore, “How to Become a Writer”
Charters: O'Brien, "The Things They Carried"
Charters: Cisneros, "The House on Mango Street," "The Monkey Garden," "Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes" and "Straw into Gold"
Charters: O’Connor “Guests of the Nation”
Reader: O’Brien, “The Plan”
Charters: Maupassant, "The Necklace"
Charters: Atwood, "Happy Endings"
Charters: O'Connor, "Everything That Rises Must Converge"
Charters: Hemingway, "Hills Like White Elephants"
Reader: Sartre: No Exit
Burroway: Oates, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?"
Burroway: Wolff, “Bullet in the Brain”
Reader: Shakespeare, “Sonnet 130”
Reader: Frost, “Out, Out—“
Reader: Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
Burroway: Munro, "Royal Beating"
Charters: DeLillo, "Videotape"
Charters: Updike, "A&P"
Charters: Joyce, "Araby"
Reader: Coover, "The Babysitter"
Reader: Nolan, “Memento Mori”
Burroway: Dillard, from "The Writing Life"
Reader: Trevor, “The Piano Tuner’s Wives”


email icon Email: Azin Arefi
phone icon Phone: 408.864.8547


Last Updated: 4/25/16