Your grade can be checked by going to the BSU Blackboard site.
Here are some tips for doing well in this course:
· Attend all class meetings, on time. This really goes without saying.
· Complete all homework assignments. Keep track of your grade online. If you catch a mistake inform me immediately.
· Pace yourself with the workload. Because we only meet twice a week, I pile a meaty amount of work on you to have completed between classes. In addition to consistently working on a story of your own, you typically have to read 1 or 2 published stories or read 2 student stories and write responses, along with any project work you have to do. The quality of your work will suffer if you wait to do all of this until the night before.
· Read each story twice. Although this might seem to make your workload even greater, it will greatly improve your reading and understanding of the text. Read first for pleasure, letting yourself be caught up in the experience. Enjoy it. Then read it again, this time with pen in hand, as a writer. Jot down notes in the margins, take notes, write down passages and questions to bring to class.
· Speak up in class, every day. This is a painful one for me too sometimes, because, once upon a time (if you can believe it) I was a quiet student who hated to talk in class. I understand that for the shy students in the class, it will be difficult to speak every day. But speak you must. I hold fast to my participation rule even though it is tough, because I can’t know your engagement with the texts and ideas unless you contribute.
· Try to stay positive. Inevitably in this class you will come across a story that you simply despise. You have every right to hate a piece of writing, even if the author is renowned and successful, but I would caution you to work through your dislike of a piece toward what you could learn from it. I believe that the best education often comes through friction with an idea or text, through a sincere struggle to find the merit in a piece of writing, be it a published story or a student draft. Recognize that you are a beginner, and resolve to learn from those who are successful in this field, even if their work is not to your taste. If you come to class week after week wanting to “workshop” the published stories that we are reading, you are on the wrong track.
· Use the exercises we do in class toward your story. Amend them how you need to in order to make them fit your writing needs for the week, and write beyond them if they get you going into your story. The exercises are only as good as you make them.
· Use the instructor as a resource! I try to make myself as available as possible. Text me, call me, or email me with your questions and concerns. I am always willing to help you, to work with you, and to brainstorm ideas. I will read multiple drafts of your story if you give them to me. I want to help you grow as writers, not only collectively but individually, and I can’t do that adequately by only meeting with you one-on-one once during the semester.