Beginning Prose

Introductory Creative Writing, Prose — English 2307

Course Description and Rationale: In this introductory course, students learn the elements of effective prose – from plot and setting to characters and imagery – to create vivid and engaging short stories or essays. To sharpen writing skills and strengthen their understanding of craft, students engage in both writing practice and reading assignments.

An immersion into prose is expected such that you will be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of the craft through discussion and in your own writing as the semester progresses. Improvement in the quality and maturity of your literary analysis as well as your own writing and development of your voice will prepare you for greater appreciation of prose, academic advancement, and confidence in the pursuit of your own creative process.

Course Prerequisite: Students are required to take English 1301 before taking English 2307. Students must produce proof of the prerequisite (a transcript, etc.) to the professor during the first week of class.

Textbooks and Materials: See the ACC recommended textbooks list. Instructors can also make recommendations to the department chair. In addition, with advance planning, a custom text is available from XanEdu.

Instructional Methodology: The course involves the reading, writing, and critical analysis of prose along with peer critique (workshop) and interactive discussion.

Course Objectives:

  • To understand and practice the writing process involved in producing polished prose, including drafting, revising, and editing.
  • To gain an accurate vocabulary of prose terms.
  • To correctly identify the basic elements of fiction and creative nonfiction.
  • To produce edited, polished works of fiction or creative nonfiction.
  • To be introduced to the creative writing workshop and portfolio methods.

Course Outcomes:

  • Be familiar with the craft elements of creative writing, including plot. scene, characters, point-of-view, dialogue, imagery, and other elements of literary prose.
  • Recognize and explain key features in fiction or creative nonfiction.
  • Demonstrate the ability to incorporate literary elements in students’ own prose.
  • Show an increase in skill, objectivity, and technical expertise in the revision process through a polished portfolio.

Note: In discussion-based classes and workshop environments, differing viewpoints and perspectives are inevitable. Respect for these differences is critical and expected.

Required Components: Students taking Introduction to Creative Writing- Prose (fiction or creative nonfiction) are required to produce two complete, polished short pieces (chapters or stories) by semester’s end. The stories/chapters should demonstrate a beginning-level knowledge of the elements necessary for the particular genre as well as a basic understanding of the workshop and revision process. Although correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and formatting are expected, proficiency in these components does not ensure that the prose piece fulfills the requirements of the genre. The instructor determines the length of the required prose pieces.

Students also produce a writing portfolio at semester’s end, which demonstrates competency in the genre. The portfolio includes additional writing exercises as well as the final versions of the required revised prose pieces.

Grading System: Instructor-specific.

Attendance: Instructor-specific.

Withdrawal: Instructor-specific.

Incompletes: A grade of incomplete is only considered under extreme or emergency circumstances.

Scholastic Dishonesty: Acts prohibited by the college for which discipline may be administered include scholastic dishonesty, including but not limited to, cheating on an exam or quiz, plagiarizing, and unauthorized collaboration with another in preparing outside work. Academic work submitted by students shall be the result of their thought, work, research or self-expression. Academic work is defined as, but not limited to, tests, quizzes, whether taken electronically or on paper; projects, either individual or group; classroom presentations; and homework.

Academic Freedom: Institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good. The common good depends upon a search for truth and upon free expression. In this course the professor and students shall strive to protect free inquiry and the open exchange of facts, ideas, and opinions. Students are free to take exception to views offered in this course and to reserve judgment about debatable issues. Grades will not be affected by personal views. With this freedom comes the responsibility of civility and a respect for a diversity of ideas and opinions. This means that students must take turns speaking, listen to others speak without interruption, and refrain from name-calling or other personal attacks.

Student Discipline: Classroom behavior should support and enhance learning. Behavior that disrupts the learning process will be dealt with appropriately, which may include having the student leave class for the rest of that day. In serious cases, disruptive behavior may lead to a student being withdrawn from the class. ACC’s policy on student discipline can be found in the Student Handbook under Policies and Procedures or on the web at:

Office of Students with Disabilities: Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented physical or psychological disabilities. Students with disabilities must request reasonable accommodations through the Office of Students with Disabilities on the campus where they expect to take the majority of their classes. Students are encouraged to do these three weeks before the start of the semester. Students who are requesting accommodation must provide the instructor with a letter of accommodation from the Office of Students with Disabilities (OSD) at the beginning of the semester. Accommodations can only be made after the instructor receives the letter of accommodation from OSD.

Course Outline/Tentative Schedule: Instructor-specific.