"Working expectations" for Our Weekly Schedule:
1) Write something each week. Each time you write, it will be up to you to decide whether to begin a new piece or to continue work on something you began in the previous week(s). Your writing should be ambitious. That does not necessarily mean that it needs to be either lengthy or polished each week. However, it should be evident to outside readers that you are pushing to break new ground in your writing.
2) Bring in sample paragraphs that you have selected as powerful models for writers, and be prepared to explain what you find exemplary in those passages.
3) Write constructive "editor's notes" in response to submissions by workshop members.
"Working expectations" for the Semester:
By the first week in May, you should be prepared to present an annotated portfolio that includes the following (or its moral equivalent)--
1) Your collection of drafts and other writing experiments (including informal in-class writing), along with a note explaining the function of each piece of writing. (In other words, what were you trying to do, how did you pursue that experiment, why did it or didn't it work, and what did you learn by trying this?)
2) Your collection of exemplary passages from published works, along with a note explaining what you found valuable in these models.
3) Your editing notes in response to submissions by other workshop members, along with a note explaining what you learned about writing by editing the writing of others.
4) At least four or five short autobiographical essays or stories that have been brought to a fairly complete and polished state. Include a note with each one describing your goals for the work, the process and techniques you used, what you learned, and your assessment of the finished piece.
5) At least one of the four or five pieces in your portfolio should be developed as if you were intending to submit it for publication. To that end, be sure to invest serious energy into revising and editing the piece of writing you regard as most "significant.How you determine what is important is up to you. There may be one topic that matters more to you than any other, there may be a writing experiment you wish to try, or there may be one work in your collection that seems to show unexpected promise.
6) Because of the nature of autobiographical writing, we should not assume that each person will do precisely the same quantity and type of work as all the other members of the class. Consequently, if you feel it would be more useful to pursue an alternative writing project (for example, to develop a single lengthy narrative rather than a series of essays, or to develop a larger number of very brief vignettes), then you should meet with the teacher to propose your plan. Similarly, if your understanding of your needs, interests, and goals evolves over the course of the semester, be sure to meet with the professor in order to work out an alternate plan for your writing.
Over the semester you will keep all of the work you generate for our workshop in a portfolio. This means that the portfolio should include several kinds of materials: your "model" passages or essays; your own drafts; your planning, editing, and revision notes (including your notes on other people's writing); and you completed autobiographical pieces.
You will turn in your portfolio three times over the course of the semester. Each time you should prepare your portfolio for review by annotating individual items or categories of items, and by writing a brief reflection on the evolution of your work as a writer.
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