Sunday, January 30, 2011

Welcome to IFP 2

Welcome to Introduction to Fiction and Poetry II, Writing it Slant.  We have a busy semester ahead of us, so we'll take this first day to go over course policies and activities.

Daily, on-time attendance is essential for success in IFP.  It's also part of how I get to know each of you.  Please let me know if I mispronounce your name.  Also make sure to sign in.

Food and Drink
Please, no eating during class.  Covered beverages are permitted, and water is always encouraged.

Computers and iPads may be used for taking notes and reading workshop stories during class.  Smartphones may not be used for these purposes.  Use of any electronic device for activities unrelated to class is highly discouraged.  Repeated misuse of electronics during class time may result in you being marked as absent.

Online Presentation Sign-Ups
I would like three people from each section to sign up for this week's online presentations.

Course Philosophy
As you've all taken IFP 1, you've had a decent introduction to creative writing and writing about the art of writing.  For IFP 2, we'll deepen the work you've begun by examining a greater variety of literature and submitting somewhat more challenging assignments.

As a writer, I believe that we must read and write as much as possible.  As you read the syllabus, you'll note a very large collection of readings and a similarly large quantity of assignments.  This is to provide sufficient practice and exposure such that writing will become second nature for each of you.  The course is certainly meant to be challenging, but I hope that this challenge will prove very rewarding for you.

This thick stack of imposing pages is your guide to the course.  Please keep it handy.  It has the reading schedule and assignment deadlines, both of which will help keep you on track.  Note that the reading schedule matches the quiz schedule - we'll have quizzes each day on the assigned readings.

The syllabus also covers many of the details of our course policies.  If you face the prospect of missing class, requesting an extension, uploading a file, or staying up till 3am completing your workshop comments...double-check the syllabus for applicable guidance.

Using the Student Portal
Please take a moment after class to set up your account on the online portal. To login, go to the homepage,, and then click on the Login link in the yellow box at the top. From there, click on IFP 2 - Spring 2011, and then follow the directions to set up a new account. I e-mailed the course enrollment key early this morning - if you did not receive this e-mail, please let me know.

Once you've logged in, please go to the forums to introduce yourself. That will help me get to know each of you a little better during the course of the semester. And if any questions come up or if the website's a little finicky about logins, feel free to e-mail.

You'll note that we have a large quantity of writing assignments.  The majority of these are ungraded - you'll receive full credit for each submission.  This is to ensure you have the freedom to experiment in your work.  Please take advantage of this to take risks and try new story ideas.  The guidelines listed in the syllabus for these assignments are meant to provide a starting point for your writing - please feel free to diverge from these guidelines as your stories progress.

Grades are roughly balanced as follows: 30% for reading assignments, 30% for participation and experimentation, 30% for graded writing assignments, and 10% for end-of-semester revisions.

Your grades will be calculated automatically on the student portal.  If, however, you find any errors in the grade markings or you have any questions regarding your progress, please let me know.

You may earn extra credit through attendance at readings and extra write-ups.

Daily, on-time attendance is very important for your success in the course.  Please refer to the syllabus for specific policies regarding excused absences (e.g. illness, family emergency) and unexcused absences.  As a general rule, notify me as soon as you know that you will miss class (especially if you suddenly awaken to discover that class was...earlier in the day...)  Make-up work is required for any missed class.  Please note that three unexcused absences will reduce the final grade by one letter (as of the third absence).  Missing more than six unexcused absences (as of the seventh absence) will result in automatic failure in the course.

Assignment Deadlines
You'll have reading and writing assignments for pretty much every day of the week except Saturday.  I have done my best to balance the workload across each week, and there are no writing assignments for over Spring Break.

We'll have quizzes for each reading day.  Approximately 50% of the questions will be from the reading, 25% from the online presentations, and 25% from the vocabulary terms listed with each week.

Plagiarism is not permitted.  Please note that plagiarism takes many forms.  Overall, be aware of the difference between fair use and copyright infringement.  Note also that you cannot receive credit twice for the same assignment - if you'd turned in a paper for another course, you cannot use the same paper for IFP.  Finally, this course is meant for your benefit.  As long as you write your words without trying to reproduce the work or style of another writer, you should be fine.

For more information, please visit for up-to-date definitions of what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

Personal Conduct
Courteous and respectful conduct is very important.  My goal is to foster a welcoming atmosphere for creative experimentation.  During workshop, please limit all comments to the work submitted - do not confuse the beliefs of the author with the themes and events of a given work.  Verbally and physically abusive behavior will not be allowed at any time.


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