Archive for August, 2015

Syllabus for Art of Narrative

August 27, 2015

Texas Southern University
School of Communication

JOUR 505 Art of Narrative
Fall 2015
Wednesdays, 5:30-7:50
MLK 119

Michael Berryhill

Teaching Philosophy:

I approach this class as an editor working with writers. I want each of my writers to come to me with story ideas and approach how to develop them. I want to see your writing as soon as possible to get an idea of how best to help you. I have lots of handouts and stories to work with.

Course Description

The Art of Narrative is one of three foundation courses for the new graduate degree concentration, Professional Communication and Digital Media. During the course of the semester, we will review the foundations of narrative story-telling in nonfiction, fiction and movies. The primary emphasis will be on prose, however.We will review research questions, main theme statements, narrative, scene, dialogue, background, description and observation. We will look at various approaches to opening a story. I will give you selected readings for class discussion.

For class readings we will read some masterpieces of journalism, many of them available on line. Students will be asked to find examples of good writing for discussion.

Each student will write at least 3000 words, either as a long form article or story, or as shorter papers. I will work with each of you in an individual way to see that your writing assignments reflect your strengths and witnesses. It’s very important that you submit drafts for revision And we will see if we can adjust your writing assignments to help you in developing your master’s project.

Goals, Objectives:

Goal 1: Understand and identify the elements of narrative writing.
Goal 2: Write 3000 words that demonstrate the application of the elements of narrative.

Calendar (Reading assignments subject to change according to needs and interests of class)

Week 1, August 27: Introductions and discussion of a the six-box story form by Walter Dean Myers. Discussion of potential writing projects. Assignment of next week’s reading.

Week 2, September 3: Blundell’s research questions and how to use them. Cause- and-effect brainstorming and writing the main theme statement
Week 3, September 10: The elements of story telling: Narrative and scene, background, description, dialogue and observation. First person account of wreck of Titanic.

Week 4, September 17: “Hitler” by Janet Flanner (Types of openings)

Week 5, September 24: “Death of a Poet,” by Berryhill

Week 6, October 1: “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold” by Gay Talese

Week 7, October 8: “The Fire next Time,” by James Baldwin

Week 8: October 15 First drafts due

Week 9: October 22 “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane

Week 10: October 29 Hiroshima by John Hersey

Week 11, November 5: “A Portrait of Hemingway,” by Lillian Ross (scenic presentation)

Week 12, November 12: “Last American Hero,” Tom Wolfe

Week 13, November 19: Final drafts due

Week 14, November 26: Thanksgiving holiday

Week 15, December 3 Last meeting

December 10, Final revisions due

Make up Work for Legitimate Absences:
Under special circumstances students may be excused from being absent from class. Such circumstances include verified illness, participation in intercollegiate athletic events, Debate Team, SGA, subpoenas, jury duty, military service, bereavement, and religious observances. Voting day absences are not excused.

Electronic Devices Policies:
Using personal electronic devices in the classroom setting can hinder instruction and learning, not only for the student using the device but also for other students in the class. To this end, the University establishes the right of each faculty member to determine if and how personal electronic devices are allowed to be used in the classroom.