For your first major assignment, you will write a Creative Nonfiction (CNF) story. You will write two drafts of a personal narrative—or a story from your life—using what you have learned from the Writing CNF handout and class discussion of examples of CNF (Lee, Kaling, Maron, and others.)
You will write your essay based on ONE of the following topics:
A personal struggle or traumatic event
An achievement or triumph
Work or school
A recent surprising, funny, or thought-provoking experience
Remember: this will be a nonfiction story from your life. It must be real!
Draft 1: 4-5 pages
15% of your total grade
NOTE: I am grading this assignment on a rubric. This rubric can be found on pages 3 and 4 of this document. It will also be reproduced on the Turnitin link for this assignment. Both drafts of the essay will be graded using this rubric.
Going over this rubric can help you write your essay because it will tell you exactly how you will be graded!
Here are some ideas on what you are going to be graded on:
Plot – organization:
Your essay should have a distinct beginning, middle, and
Plot – engagement:
You should write about something that interests you, even moves you. It’s always easier to write about something that you actually want to write about, and the results are usually better that way as well.
You should have a clear purpose for writing this essay…and everything else you ever write! Try writing “I am writing this story because” and finishing the sentence. The finished product should reflect that response. (In fact, try inserting that sentence into the essay and see if it works!)
In class, you will have brainstormed details about at least one character. Now, use these to describe that person, and perhaps other people. Touch on as many of the five senses as possible.
Take time to choose details that are clear and concise, yet also vivid. Important details should be “shown” to the reader rather than “told”—look at the Writing CNF handout if you are unclear on the difference.
Lastly, you want a nice mix of objective and subjective Ask yourself: can I tie any emotions to these details? If you can, this will give you a deeper connection to your reader.
Everything that goes for character, goes for setting! Be sure to describe at least one setting to ground your reader and give them a place and time to “see” in their mind.
Take your time! Make this essay as tight and error-free as possible, especially in regards to spelling and grammar. You can achieve this by editing your own work and writing several drafts, visiting me in my office with a draft, or taking a draft to tutoring.
EXTRA CREDIT! For up to FIVE points of extra credit:
Incorporate dialogue into your story to make your story come to life. As we discussed in class, this is the ultimate sound detail to use to describe someone.
Check out the Writing CNF handout for “Mr. B’s Rules on Dialogue” for exact guidelines.
The amount of extra credit given will depend on how realistic the dialogue is, how well it fits your narrative, and how well you present it. This is extra credit, so I will be very strict about the formatting!
For further guidance, refer back to the Writing CNF handout, especially “Prewriting Tips for Writing Narrative” on page 4 and “Prewriting Tips for Writing Description” on pages 6-7.
your font is 12 point Times New Roman
your paragraphs are indented and your lines are double-spaced
your margins are set to 1 inch on all sides
top left-hand corner looks like this:
CLASS AND SECTION
INSTRUCTOR’S LAST NAME
you have a header or footer containing your last name and page number on every page after p. 1
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