Creative Writing Syllabus            Gavilan College  Fall 2009   Karen Warren


Course description

Eng. 9A: This course includes the writing, reading, and critical discussions of various forms of poetry & fiction.

9B: This is a continuation of Eng. 9A with the emphasis shifting to publication and non-fiction writing.

9C: This course continues the writing and reading of poetry.

What I want to share with you in this class:

  • Writing exercises to get your words and images flowing.
  • Writing groups for support and encouragement.
  • A forum where you can contribute your ideas, questions, observations, and experiences.
  • Poems, short stories, plays, and non-fiction that show how other writers have handled matters of style and content—use of language, dialogue, structure, rhythm, imagery, and even paragraphing and punctuation.
  • Discussions (among ourselves and published authors) of the choices writers make in generating, drafting, and revising their work.
  • Opportunities to experiment, take risks, and develop your craft as a writer.
  • Ways to share your writing with the world—when you’re ready.

Learning Outcomes: What you can expect to learn in this class:

  • How to analyze and critique classic and contemporary literary works in terms of their craft.
  • How to compose prose and poetry based on a wide range of prose and poetic forms.
  • Strategies for composing and revising poetry and prose.
  • How to compare various pieces of literature across genre and theme and identify elements of their craft.
  • Strategies for analyzing and respectfully responding to each others’ writing.

Course Requirements

Regular attendance and active participation, plus keeping up-to-date on the reading.

Mid-term and final portfolio of writings


Presentation on an author

100-page journal


To encourage the risk-taking and experimentation beginning writers must undertake, I will approach grading primarily based on course participation and tasks completed rather than a subjective assessment of your work.

90-100%=A, 88-89% = B+, 80-87%=B, 78-79%=C+, 70-77%=C, 60-69%=D (Possible 500 points)

              Midterm & final portfolio = total of 300

              Project = 50 points

              Presentation = 50 points

              Class participation = 50 points

              Journal = 50 points

Formatting your writing

Writing for draft workshops and portfolios

  • must be typed in 12-point Times or Times New Roman font
  • with double-spacing for fiction, non-fiction, and drama.
  • Poems may have any form of line spacing at the author’s discretion.

All submissions should have an original title, your name, date, page numbers, and one-inch margins.

      If you are including another person’s words or ideas in your essay, it must be properly cited or you risk being expelled from the college for plagiarism.If you have any questions about how to format or make citations, see the assistants in the Writing Center or ask me for help.

Suggested Supplies:

access to a computer, disc or flash drive for saving documents, 3-ring binder for class handouts, highlighter, notebooks for in-class writing, journal, and a manila folder or binder for submitting your portfolio

Help for Writers: The Writing Center

The Writing Center, in Library 120, serves the campus community by fostering, celebrating and encouraging writers and the varied and multiple purposes and audiences that writing serves.

    Specially trained student Writing Assistants offer free one-on-one consultations about all kinds of writing on a drop-in and by appointment basis. In the center you can also find computers and printers.

    The center is open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m.-1 p.m. (closed Mondays 2:30-3:35 p.m.)

Campus Advisories 

Students requiring special services or arrangements because of hearing, visual, or other disability should contact their instructor, counselor, or the Disabled Student Services Office.


Gavilan ILearn

Click here for a link to our online component

Log-in Instructions

Office hours: MW 9-9:30 & 2-2:30; TTh 9-10 & 1-1:30, & by arrangement

Course: Eng. 9A Sect. 10229, 9B 10231, 9C 10233; SS216  11:20-12:40 T Th  

3 units

Final exam:

Tues., Dec. 15,



1) Addonizio, Kim & Dorianne Laux. The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. Publisher: Norton. ISBN 0-393-31654-8

2) Ed. Gioia, Dana & R. S. Gwynn. The Art of the Short Story. Publisher: Pearson/Longman. ISBN 0-321-33722-0

3) Zinsser, William. On Writing Well: An Informal Guide to Writing Nonfiction. (30th Anniversary edition). Publisher: Harper & Row. ISBN: 9780060891541; ISBN10: 0060891548 (an earlier edition of this book would be fine)


Eligible for English 1A


Gavilan logoKaren Warren, English Instructor * Gavilan College * 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd., Gilroy, CA 95020 * * 408/848-4850 * Office SS109
page last modified 8/26/09