Shelley Reid .

English 309
Introduction to Nonfiction Writing

Course Schedule

Fall 2008  --  TR 10:30-11:45 
Professor E. Shelley Reid



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Reading assignments are from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (AVM), Writing True (WT), The Writer on her Work (WoW), Best American Magazine Writing 2005 (BMW), and Best American Essays 2005 (BAE).

Some readings will be available online (in the public web or through a GMU database) and some are posted on our Blackboard site (Bb), which you can access from . All bibliographic information about these readings is posted in Bb on the "Reading List."

Reading and writing assignments are due at the start of the scheduled class period unless otherwise noted. 



Class topics

Reading Due This Class

Writing Due This Class



Writing Block; Introducing writers, setting goals


Readers' Block;  Syllabus Q&A;    Story Potluck; Annotation yoga

WT:  p. 24-5

WoW: Atwood, 150

Bb: Macrorie and Lamott

Reader's Prep Card: Fan, Player, Analyst, Skeptic, Learner

1-page story, 2 copies



WB; Six Short Lessons: moving day, little green ball, some people, fruit jello, pink houses, inner three-year-old


WT:  Chapters 1-3; + Liu, 234 or Gilb, 287

WoW: Hogan, 77; Erlich, 175

AVM: Ch. 1


Annotation (photocopy/printout)

Initial Learning Goals (paragraph+grid)


RB; Writing Workshop 1: Description/Place


WT:  pp. 80-84 + Chapter 6

WW#1 Draft (copies w/Guides; Commentary)

Reader's Prep Card




WB; Finding a center;
The Rhetorical Triangle vs.
The Five Paragraph Essay

WoW:  Hampl, 21; LeGuin, 210

BAE: Levy, 121

(See Bb "Reading List" for bibliog. info)

3x3 Log + Response OR Comp. Analysis


RB; Writing Workshop 2: Memory/Reflection

WT:  Simic, 271 or Steinbach, 275

AVM: Ch. 2

WW#2 Draft (copies w/Guides; Commentary)

Reader's Prep Card



Class topics

Reading Due This Class

Writing Due This Class



WB; Information-plus: Beyond Webcams & Wikipedia

WT: Chap. 9

Online: Frayne, "Lightning"

(See Bb "Reading List" for bibliog. info)


RB; Writing Workshop 3: Report/Profile

Meet in Innovation 327

BMW:  Smith, 121

(See Bb "Reading List" for bibliog. info)

AVM:  Ch. 5

WW#3 Draft (copies w/Guides; Commentary)

Reader's Prep Card



WB; Writing for real; scope & angle

WT: Chapter 10

Bb: Lorde OR Online: Wilson, "Apocalypse"

Reading Analysis OR 3x3 Log + Response


RB; Letter Potluck; beyond text

Meet in Innovation 327

BMW, BAE, or WoW: Readers' Choice 1

AVM:  Ch. 9


Reader's Prep Card




Writing for the right brain, blending modes and styles

WT: Chapter 8

BMW:  Kamp, 265

BAE:  Sedaris, 195



RB; Writing Workshop 4: Review/Multi/J (online option)

AVM: Ch. 11

WW#4 Draft (copies w/Guides; Commentary)

Reader's Prep Card




WB; Sussing out stakeholders; blending voices

WT: Kidder, 309

Online:  Gessert, "Orgy of Power"

Optional: Proposal consultations


RB; Psych: reaching distant and resistant readers

BMW, BAE, or WoW: Readers' Choice 2

AVM:  Ch. 14

Reader's Prep Card

Schedule Proposal Conferences



NO CLASS: Fall Break



Writing Workshop 5:  Change
(online option)

WT:  Callahan p. 219, Weineke p. 255

WW#5 Draft (copies w/Guides; Commentary)



No Class:  Conference Break

WT:  Chapters 4 & 7; Miller, 340

BMW: Jones, 3

First Portfolio and Proposal Due at Conference


WB Revision Workout 1: Macro

Meet in Innovation 328



Class topics

Reading Due

Writing Due



RB; Seeing the heart of the matter; shifting the scope

BAE:  Sacks, 161

Online: Kesselheim, "A Day in the Life"

AVM: Ch. 15

Research Plan

Reader's Prep Card



Revision Workshop A (online option)

Revised Draft A (Guide, commentary)
Post Draft to Wiki



RB; Rebuilding:  structures, genres, forms

WT: Walker, 210; Legler, 289

AVM: Ch. 17 OR 19

Reader's Prep Card


WB; Revision Workout 2: Macro/micro

Meet in Innovation 328

Peer Review Review

(PRR Responses due by Saturday noon)



RB; Beginnings & endings; pacing & flow; "what else?"

BMW:  Wolcott, 333

Online: Long, "Genome Tome"

AVM:  Ch. 20

Target/Model assignment

Reader's Prep Card

Set up conferences



Revision Workshop B (online option)

Revised Draft B (Guide, commentary)

Post to Wiki; Find a writing handbook



Conference Break:  No class





WB; "Style" and "voice"

WT:  Chapter 5, Fuller, 369

BAE:  Florey, 31

Grammar Guru assignment

Bring your handbook



Revision Workshop C (in-class): Editing and proofreading

(Re-)Revised Draft (Guide? Commentary?)





RB: Faves; Building a portfolio; Share-around part 1

Optional: 2 copies, 1-3 pp for sharing


WB: Next?; Looking forward;
Share-around part 2

Optional: 2 copies, 1-3 pp for sharing

Final Portfolios Due by Wednesday, December 10, 5:00 p.m.




Last updated August 2008.Email Shelley Reid