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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Course Descriptions

CRW 325 • Writer Within

34840 • Gafla, Ofir Touché
Meets MW 300pm-430pm PAR 214
(also listed as C L 323)
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This course is divided into two parts: Writing Techniques and The Character.

The first part of the course focuses on writing techniques and seeks to help the 'new' writer develop a writing discipline as well as get acquainted with the writer within, namely the subtext underpinning their stories as a marker of their personal voices. Students are required to write texts according to specific requirements. We read some of their texts in class and feedback on them. During the first half of the course students are given tools to improve their writing: How to edit one's text by gradually developing an objective eye; The importance of the first draft as a means to get to know one's intentions; The separation between writer and narrator; The different voices of the first person; The tension between the first and the third person; The difference between influence and imitation; The difference between story and plot; How to translate reality into fiction and most importantly how to find one's own voice in the surrounding cacophony.

Writing assignments are varied and students usually derive a great deal of fun coping with them. Just to name a few: 'Dinner with X' (a story about dinner with a famous person, dead or alive, on a desert island, after spending there six solitary months). 'Polyphonic' (Telling the same story from two different perspectives as portrayed by two different narrators). 'Cover version' (Writing a personal cover version for an existing story or part of a novel in order to answer the question 'How would you have written it had it been your work?') and 'Metamorphosis' (A story about change, to demonstrate the movement inside a text).

The second part of the course focuses on a fictitious character created by the students. According to certain guidelines each student is asked to 'create' a human being and get to know that person to the best of their ability. From now on all the stories that the students are required to write will be about that same character. The purpose of this is to instill a sense of continuity, commitment and perseverance in the burgeoning writer. Writing assignments include three monologues from three different periods of the character's life, two dialogues that form a single story, a researched story and watershed moments in the character's life. The final story is comprised of details from previous stories to form an altogether new story.

Since this course is multi-disciplinarian we touch on different media in art such as literature, music, cinema and TV. Nowadays when talking about heroes and anti-heroes one might speak about Raskolnikov but one can't forebear from mentioning Walter White ('Breaking Bad') for example to illustrate the shift we witness regarding the character's moral code. While students hone their creative writing skills through practice and revision, we will also deal with the following questions: What is Jewish literature? Is there a difference between Jewish literature and Israeli literature? Students will examine and discuss much-noted literary texts by Israeli writers, Jewish authors in the Diaspora, and other practitioners of fiction. Using these works as a case study, students will identify how writers incorporate tradition, culture, thought, history and geography into their work.   


  • 'Metamorphosis' / Franz Kafka (first two pages)
  • 'Letter to a young lady in Paris' / Julio Kortazar
  • 'The joke'/ Roddy Doyle
  • 'Everything I know about my family on my mother's side' / Nathan Englander
  • 'Talitha Kumi' / Yitzhak (Auerbach) Orpaz
  • 'The monument of the ressurection' / Yitzhak Oren
  • 'High tide' / Orly Castel-Bloom
  • 'My straw chairs' / Shulamith Hareven
  • Additional material : 'The ninth wave' / Kate Bush (lyrics)

Writing Assignments:

In-Class writing:

Two writing assignments will be given during the semester. These shall be read aloud rather than submitted.

Since this course is aimed at improving students' writing skills and techniques, ten writing assignments will be given (9 short stories – 700-1000 words) and one story that is longer- the final assignment (2000 words minimum). There will be two more writing assignments that are not stories but papers discussing certain specific elements in two short stories.

All written assignments should be double-spaced in a 12-point font, with the standard margins (1.25 on the right and left; 1.0 on the top and bottom).

Write your name on the upper right-hand corner of the first page.

Carefully proofread your text for errors in wording, punctuation and spelling.

Every text (unless stated otherwise) is to be submitted in hard copy meeting a specific deadline.

CRW 325F • Fiction Writing

34845 • Unferth, Deb Olin
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm PAR 302
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Instructor: Unferth, D

Unique: 34845

Semester: Fall 2014

Cross-lists: n/a

Restrictions: CRW Certificate students

Prerequisites: One of the following: C L 315, E 603B, 316L (or 316K), 316M (or 316K), 316N (or 316K), 316P (or 316K), or T C 603B.

Description: Each week for the first half of the semester, we will focus on a different element of craft—everything from intriguing first sentences to breathless endings. We will spend time on description, setting, dialogue, conflict, and more. I will assign in-class exercises and short take-home assignments, some of which we will discuss in class. We will read stories by 20th and 21st century writers and focus on how these writers make use of plot, form, voice, and style. In the second half of the semester, students will each write a complete short story, which we will workshop. On the last day of class students will hand in short reading responses to individually selected books, identifying an element of craft that particularly interests them.

Through story workshops, generative exercises, discussion of published work, and individual suggested reading, students write new work and read the work of others always with an eye toward inciting fresh ways of thinking about fiction. Students should emerge from the class with a solid grounding in narrative and with a collection of work in various stages of completion.

Texts: reading packet

Requirements and Grading:

Short writing assignments: 40%

Longer Short Story: 30%

Attendance and participation: 20%

Short responses: 10%


CRW 325F • Fiction Writing

34850 • LaSalle, Peter N
Meets MW 500pm-630pm PAR 310
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Instructor:  La Salle, P

Unique #:  34850

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  n/a

Flags:  Writing

Restrictions:  CRW Certificate students

Prerequisites: One of the following: C L 315, E 603B, 316L (or 316K), 316M (or 316K), 316N (or 316K), 316P (or 316K), or T C 603B.

Description: The beginning of the course will stress the development of skills in the various aspects of narration, including writing description, probing character, and plotting. The latter part of the course will involve the writing and rewriting of a complete short story.

Texts: The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, Cassill, ed.

Requirements & Grading: Four writing assignments: 90%; Attendance

CRW 325M • Creative Writing

34855-34885 • Casares, Oscar H.
Meets TTH 1100am-1200pm UTC 3.132
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Instructor:  Casares, O & Greiner, C

Unique #:  34855-34885

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  n/a

Flags:  Writing

Computer Instruction:  No

Only one of the following may be counted: Creative Writing 325M, English 315F, 315P.

Prerequisites: One of the following: C L 315, E 603B, 316L (or 316K), 316M (or 316K), 316N (or 316K), 316P (or 316K), or T C 603B.

Description: This course is an introduction to the three major genres of creative writing: fiction, poetry, and the personal essay. Students will be evaluated on work in all three genres. Short, frequent writing assignments (blog posts, sketches, and single poems) will allow students to practice their craft throughout the semester, and will culminate in longer pieces in each genre.

Prof. Casares will teach an introduction to reading and writing literary fiction. During the semester we will study a variety of stories from the textbooks, looking at the different techniques the writer used, and then eventually discussing your own short stories in this same manner. The goal is to make you a more critical reader while you gain a greater appreciation for what goes into developing an effective story, all of which is designed to improve your writing skills. Note: We will be discussing only literary fiction and not genre fiction (science fiction, vampire stories, romance, suspense, etc.). Prof. Casares will spend time at the beginning of the semester explaining the differences between the two forms, but if you hoped to write genre fiction this may not be the right course for you. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Prof. Greiner will teach poetry writing, focusing on the building blocks of poetic craft (line, sound, and stanza) as well as broader issues of voice, tone, diction, and subject matter. We will read and analyze a variety of classic and contemporary poems, seeking to become better readers in order to become better writers.

Profs. Casares and Greiner will collaborate to teach the art of the personal essay. Different from the persuasive or analytic essay you write for other classes, the personal essay is a literary genre related to memoir and autobiography. We will read outstanding examples of the form and practice casting our own experiences as literature in essays of our own.

This course will also introduce students to the basic practice of the creative writing class, the workshop. Every student will have the opportunity to have at least one assignment workshopped, either by the T.A. and members of your section, or by the professor and your T.A. in front of the whole class. Students will be able to choose between these options.

Texts: Janet Burroway, Imaginative Writing: The Elements of Craft, Pearson/Longman (3rd edition); Kim Addonizio, Ordinary Genius (tentative).

Requirements & Grading: Short story: 20% of final grade; Suite of 3-5 poems: 20% of final grade; Personal essay: 20% of final grade; Character sketch: 5% of final grade; Plot sketch: 5% of final grade; Poem #1: 5% of final grade; Poem #2: 5% of final grade; Personal Essay proposal: 5% of final grade; Weekly blog posts: 10% of final grade; Participation and attendance: 5% of final grade.

CRW 325P • Poetry Writing

34890 • Young, Dean H
Meets TTH 330pm-500pm CAL 21
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Instructor:  Young, D

Unique #:  34890

Semester:  Spring 2014

Cross-lists:  n/a

Flags:  Writing

Restrictions:  CRW Certificate students

Only one of the following may be counted: CRW 325P, E 325 (Topic 2: Creative Writing: Poetry), 325P.

Prerequisites: One of the following: C L 315, E 603B, 316L (or 316K), 316M (or 316K), 316N (or 316K), 316P (or 316K), or T C 603B.

Description: Students in this class will be expected to write and turn in one poem a week, some to be discussed in class. We will also be reading a few books by established poets and students will be required to write a short response to each book.

Requirements & Grading: TBA.

CRW 340F • Short Story Workshop

34895 • Casares, Oscar H.
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm GAR 1.134
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Instructor:  Casares, O

Unique #:  34895

Semester:  Fall 2014

Cross-lists:  n/a

Flags:  Writing

Restrictions:  CRW Certificate students

Computer Instruction:  No

CRW 340F and E 341 may not both be counted.

Prerequisites: CRW 325F (or E 325F), or 325M.

Description: Practice in writing the short story, with study of contemporary models.

This course is designed for students who have already taken Fiction Writing (325F or 325M) and have a serious interest in writing fiction. Since the class is primarily a workshop, we will discuss student work for the majority of the semester.

Texts: (Tentative) Reading Like a Writer, 1st edition: Francine Prose

Requirements & Grading: You are required to write two short stories (each 8-15 pages) that will be discussed in a workshop setting and later revised. For all the other student work discussed in class, you will be responsible for writing detailed critiques (1-2 pages). Attendance is required. There will be no final exam.

Classroom participation, 20%
; Three Stories, 80%.

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