WRITE390-21A (HAM)

Directed Study

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
School of Arts


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Paper Description

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This paper gives students the opportunity to complete a stand-alone writing project. Projects will be devised in conjunction with a supervisor, and may include (for example) a portfolio of short fiction, or a poetry portfolio, or a work of creative or journalistic non-fiction, or an applied writing project focussing on a particular genre, medium or professional writing mode. The project will be divided into smaller assessed writing tasks, including an abstract or outline of the planned project; an analysis of models/sources/examples (or an annotated bibliography) as appropriate; a sustained piece of independent original writing presented first in finished draft form, and then resubmitted after a process of revision. Students will meet as a group for two timetabled hours per fortnight during the semester for peer critique and to discuss work in progress with the supervisor/s.
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Paper Structure

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This paper involves an independent but guided writing project. You may devise your own project, in conjunction with one of the convenors. Alternatively, you may wish to select one of the topics suggested below, under ‘Assessment’. Regardless of topic, all students will complete the same set of writing exercises, and meet the same submission deadlines:

  1. An abstract or outline for your project. This will describe your project, the related reading/research you plan to do, and the scope and format of your major assignment. Length: around 500 words.
  2. A research-based analytical exercise. This will present a report on some strong examples of genre/form in which you will be working. Length: 1000-1500 words.
  3. A draft of your writing project. You should regard this as the ‘finished’ version of your project, and present it at the highest possible standard of completion. It will be marked closely and carefully, and returned to you for revision. Length: 3000-5000 words.
  4. Your revised, final writing project. This will be assessed on the extent to which you have developed your writing and ideas in response to feedback. Length: 3000-5000 words.
  5. The group will meet every two weeks for peer critique and supervisor input. Your mark will depend on the quality of your participation and on attendance. A roll will be taken.
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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the paper should be able to:

  • present written work to a high standard of mechanical correctness, and to exacting deadlines and word lengths
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • work independently
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  • improve the close-reading and analytical skills essential for effective writing
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  • improve the research skills necessary for good writing
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  • increase their ability to read other people's work closely, and to provide constructive feedback
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  • assimilate constructive feedback on their own work, and revise their own work in response to that feedback
    Linked to the following assessments:
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WRITE390-21A Creative Writing Topics: Read, Respond & Write

This topic is designed to focus creative writing students on the vital importance of ‘reading like a writer’, searching the work of other authors with an eye for elements, structures and techniques which create successful writing. For this topic you will study the work of a selected poet or short story writer, and respond both critically and creatively to their works. Your object is to examine selected works of your chosen author, reading to identify techniques, modes and qualities central to their writing, and to use these technical insights gained from your reading to generate your own creative work. From this exercise of ‘reading like a writer’ you will produce two key pieces of work in response to your chosen author:

(1) a critical reflection on their work, detailing any aspects of their writing which you find significant and inspiring (such as style, point-of-view, voice, sentence structure, rhythm, tension, characterization, sound, compression, line break, dialogue, sense of place, mood), and examining how these textual features create specific effects AND

(2) a portfolio of your own creative writing, using the techniques or models you have identified in your chosen author’s work to generate your own short fiction or poetry.

For this topic you have the option of studying either a short story writer or a poet.

Short story: Chose ONE of the short story writers from the list below OR select a writer of your own choice to study:

Junot Diaz Katherine Mansfield Denis Johnson

Jayne Ann Phillips Sue Orr James Joyce

Amy Hempel Maurice Duggan Frank Sargeson

Alice Munro Anne Enright Alice Tawhai

Tim Winton Nam Le Ernest Hemingway

Hilary Mantel Owen Marshall Lorrie Moore

Carmen Maria Machado Roberto Bolano

Patricia Grace Jack Ross

Poetry: Choose ONE of the poets from the list below:

Carol Ann Duffy Dylan Thomas Janet Charman

Mark Strand Robert Sullivan Tusiata Avia

Eavan Boland Hone Tuwhare Anne Sexton

Glenn Colquhoun Fleur Adcock Ai

Bill Manhire Anne Michaels e.e cummings

Yusef Komunyakaa Sylvia Plath Emma Neale

Hera Lindsay Bird Warsan Shire Fatimah Asghar

WRITE390-21A Creative non-fiction topics: Research, write and re-write

Choose one of the following, or devise your own project in consultation with the supervisor:

1) Write a research-based piece about a clearly-identified issue in contemporary New Zealand life. You could focus on any one of the following: art, education, environmentalism, fashion, film, food, literature, music, politics, theatre, a movement in popular culture, etc. Your imagined publication venue might be The Spinoff (https://thespinoff.co.nz), The Pantograph Punch (https://www.pantograph-punch.com/), or the New Zealand Listener.

2) Write a research-based ‘family history’, or a history of one member of your family. For example, you could write about someone who served in a war, or someone who had an unusual professional life, or someone who made a special contribution to their community. Your ideal readership might be New Zealand Geographic magazine. See http://www.nzgeographic.co.nz/archives

3) Write a research-based journalistic ‘profile’ of a town (or region) you know well. You would need to find an ‘angle’ that gives your piece structure and makes it interesting. People? Architecture? Industry? Agriculture? Tourism? A particular event that took place there?
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Assessment Components

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Abstract/Outline
19 Mar 2021
4:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Analytical Exercise
16 Apr 2021
4:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Project Draft
21 May 2021
4:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Project Final
14 Jun 2021
4:30 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
5. Class Participation
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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Required and Recommended Readings

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Required Readings

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Students will devise their own project-specific reading programme, in consultation with the supervisor.
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Online Support

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There is an online Moodle community for this paper. Forums will be used actively. Moodle can be accessed via iWaikato.
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The expected workload for this paper is 10 hours per week (2 hours of class time and 8 hours of self-directed study) throughout the 15 week semester.
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Linkages to Other Papers

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Restricted papers: WRIT391

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