Spring 2019 - ENGL 374 E100

Creative Writing II: Fiction (4)

Class Number: 6302

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    AQ 5006, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    Two 100-division English courses and two 200-division English courses.



A seminar-workshop in the theory and practice of creative writing with specific emphasis on prose fiction.


The Practice of Fiction

This course will offer students the opportunity to practice their own creative writing while also analyzing literature very closely ‘as a writer.’  Throughout the course, we will read different types of prose fiction as well as statements on the craft, project, or vocation of writing.  We will learn to see with fresh eyes specific traditions and developments in prose, including notions of ‘realism,’ ‘consciousness,’ ‘free indirect style,’ and ‘detail.’  We will also gain practical advice on the drafting and revising of stories; and we will engage with lively and sometimes controversial statements on the lifelong practice and responsibilities of writing. 

The course assignments will consist of weekly reading responses and writing assignments, a longer prose piece to be work-shopped collectively by the class, and a final portfolio submission which will include a self-study component.  The goal of this course is to help us become closer and more knowledgeable readers of fiction, while enabling us to pursue, in an informed and supportive studio environment, our creative practice.  

All students will be considered for the Ying Chen Creative Writing Award, an annual prize of $1,300 given to the best undergraduate writer in an academic year.


  • Participation (mandatory) 25%
  • Weekly reading responses (4 in total) 20%
  • Major workshop assignment 25%
  • Final Portfolio 30%


Your participation grade will require good attendance, but also informed participation in classroom discussions, thoughtful and constructive comments on the writings of other students, and the demonstration of overall preparedness for each class.  Please be aware that you will fail this class if your participation is not satisfactory.  

Your reading responses will be 250 to 300 words in length and due at the very beginning of each of the classes.  (I will sometimes open a class by inviting you to share your response with the class.)  You will respond in some way to one or more readings for that week, and you may do so by responding as a ‘writerly’ critic (especially attentive to the work of formal devices in the text), or else by creatively imitating/modeling the style of a particular reading.  If you choose the latter option, you should include in your response a short paragraph explaining exactly what stylistic aspect of the reading you are attempting to model or creatively reproduce.  While these assignments are meant to be ‘impressionistic’ and ‘creative’ in nature, they must also be in good prose (creative or critical).  The 4 assignments are each worth 5% of your final grade, for a total of 20%.  You may choose when you would like to respond, but you must ensure that you have completed 4 response assignments by the end of the semester.

Your major workshop assignment must be circulated to the class exactly one week in advance of the next class.  You will do so by emailing it to me as a Word or PDF file, which I will then post to Canvas in order for all to access it.  Your major assignment will be a prose piece of seven to nine pages (no shorter or longer), and you will be asked to present it to the class by first offering a detailed explanation of your process and ambitions when writing the piece, and then by reading aloud a short part of the piece.  Your text itself will be worth 15% of the total assignment grade, and your presentation of your text will be worth another 10% of your grade, for a total value of 25%.  The class will then have the opportunity to offer their thoughtful feedback on your piece.  (All students in the class are expected to bring their own marked up copy of the student’s assignment to the class.)   

Your final portfolio will consist of your weekly reading responses, your revised and possibly expanded major workshop assignment, as well as a five page “self study” of your work and development as a writer in the course.  

Please understand that because of the special time constraints of this seminar course there can be no extensions on assignments, especially in-class presentations.



Pagh, Nancy (ed.)  Write Moves: A Creative Writing Guide and Anthology.  Broadview, 2016

Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

For all On-Campus Courses, please note the following:
- To receive credit for the course, students must complete all requirements.
- Tutorials/Seminars WILL be held the first week of classes.
- When choosing your schedule, remember to check "Show lab/tutorial sections" to see all Lecture/Seminar/Tutorial times required.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html