News is news: “US, Canada Go To War; Naval Battles in Great Lakes” or “J-School Lecturer Nabbed in Bank Heist.” A reader will read to the end of such a story no matter how badly it’s written. But how do you attract the attention of a busy, distracted reader to a story that doesn’t contain such a revelation? That’s where you need the art of narrative writing. If you want your readers to stay with you for a newspaper feature story or a full-length magazine piece, or a long read on a website, you have to learn what good storytellers have been doing for thousands of years to make people sit up and listen. You can always tell the difference between writing that makes you turn the page eagerly and writing that makes your eyes glaze over. This course is designed to help you write the first and not the second. Don’t take this class unless you like to write, like to rewrite–and like to read carefully and analytically. There will be several writing and rewriting assignments of increasing length, including one profile; the last assignment is a magazine-length piece of 3,000 to 5,000 words. If you take the course, arrive the first day with one or two stories in mind that you are eager to report, write, and try to publish. Reading and writing assignments are considerable, so if you’re worried about there being too many demands on your time this semester, or anticipate missing more than one class, I would suggest another course.
Priority enrollment given, in this order, to 1) 2nd year narrative track students; 2) other 2nd year students; 3) 1st year narrative track students; 4) other first-year students.
Prospective students with questions should feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org