The Final Portfolio
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What it is
The portfolio is a collection of some of the writing you’ve done in this course: the drafts you’ve written toward your “final” draft, the “final” draft itself, and a reflective essay that explores and explains what you’ve done in these drafts. It’s also a record of all the hard work you’ve done, and when you get it back, it should be kept in a prominent place in your home so you can show it off to friends, family, and passersby. If you’re a Creative Writing major (or thinking about being one), you should definitely keep a copy of your portfolio, as you may want to continue developing the material in it. Also, future instructors at MU may ask you to work with creative work you’ve already done in previous classes.
Your complete Workshop 1 draft
Your complete Workshop 2 draft
Your complete Workshop 3 draft, ONLY IF you chose the creative writing option. If you chose the option to outline your final portfolio reflective essay, DO NOT include it in the final portfolio.
A reflective essay.
NOTE: You do not need to include your Workshop 4 work in the final portfolio.
I strongly encourage you to revise your story/poetry draft one more time for the portfolio.
Any other additional exercises, rough drafts, or other writing that led directly to your final story/poetry.
How to submit your portfolio
You’ll submit your rough drafts and your reflective essay as one, single document. You’ll need to copy/paste your rough drafts into a new document, and also include your reflective essay in the same document.
Please paste your earliest draft first in this document, followed by the next draft and (if you write one) your latest draft. In other words, order your drafts in chronological order, from earliest to latest.
Please be sure that each draft is clearly identifiable as draft 1, draft 2, etc. I don’t care how you do this, so long it’s immediately clear which draft is which.
Please paste your reflective essay into this document last, after your workshop drafts.
CAUTION: Before you upload your file, be 100% certain that you’re uploading an acceptable file type (.doc, docx, .rtf, .odt) DO NOT submit .wps, .pages, or .zip files.
CAUTION: Before you upload your file, be 100% that the individual writings in it are clearly labeled (for example, “draft 1,” “draft 2,” etc.), and that you adhered to all of the instructions above. You don’t want to lose points simply because you didn’t read the instructions carefully.
How it’s graded
The portfolio is worth 150 points of your final grade. The workshop rough drafts and your “final” draft (if you include one) are worth a collective 50 points, and the reflective essay is worth 100 points. Grading criteria is described below.
You’ll notice that the word “final” is in quotations, here. That means that your final draft doesn’t need to be THE final draft of your work, since it’s nearly impossible to develop a complete, polished draft in only 8 weeks. Instead, think of your final draft as a strong revision of your last rough draft, that would continue to be revised if time permitted. Note: while your “final” draft doesn’t need to be FINAL, it does need to be as complete as you can possibly make it: it should have beginning and end, be as well-written as you can possibly make it, and be properly formatted and free of any errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
As the syllabus states, I will not grade you based on my personal creative preferences. Instead, I’ll look for strong evidence throughout your drafts that you’ve engaged in the development of your story/poems. This evidence will include revisions of elements of craft in your work, the general sense I get that you’ve applied your knowledge of writing craft to make careful, deliberate choices in your work, and how much your work has progressed toward a completed draft. The contents of your reflective essay may also influence how I grade your creative work, since they’ll also show me evidence of the above criteria.
I’d like you to write an essay that reflects on the writing process behind your creative work. I will use this essay to help me determine your grade on your rough and “final” drafts. The essay will be graded on how well you follow through on the requirements described below. In general, I’m looking for detailed answers that clearly illustrate strong knowledge of the vocabulary terms and concepts we’ve learned throughout the semester. I’m also looking for an essay (not a freewriting exercise, or story, or poem, or Q&A) that is well-organized, focused, and free of errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Your essay should address all of the items listed below. There’s more than one way to organize these items into a coherent essay, so use your creative thinking skills to explore your options. Just be sure that 1) your final product is focused, well-organized, and coherent, 2) it addresses all of the items below, and 3) you consistently illustrate and apply your knowledge of course vocabulary and concepts while addressing the following items. There is no length requirement for this essay, though past students have typically written 4-6 pages in response to the items below.
Where did your story/poetry come from? What specific things did you use from your Alien Anthropology, Creator’s Subject, or other course writing to generate the idea or subject of your story/poetry? How did you move from those original snippets of writing to a story/poetry idea to the story/poetry itself?
What discourse community does your work speak to, or for? What subject, issue, or conversation might your work contribute to within that discourse community? Be as specific as possible, here; I’m looking for detail and insight into how your work fits into a larger, already ongoing conversation within an established discourse community.
Describe the most significant revisions you made in your work, and the thinking behind those revisions (why you made the choices that you did, what you were experimenting with, or what you hoped to accomplish through your revisions). One thing you could do for this subtopic is look back at the workshop responses you received, and describe how/why you did/did not use those responses.
Describe the craft elements in your work that give it the most impact, and what you were trying to accomplish by using those craft elements the way you did. (Suggestion: This is where you show off your knowledge of writing craft, so use vocabulary terms you’ve learned, and be detailed with them. I encourage you to look at the discussion posts on craft elements to examine and reflect on how your knowledge and skills with writing craft have evolved, and how your knowledge/skills of craft elements are illustrated in your creative work.)
In general, how did the writing process work for you? What challenges did you face as you wrote and revised? What risks did you take? What did you learn from any “mistakes” you made? What worked well for you? (Suggestion: This is where you might use vocabulary terms and concepts about creativity that we covered in this course.)
Explain the specific revisions you would/will make to your final draft in order to complete it, and why you think these revisions would make your story/poetry complete and effective.
Can you imagine situations where skills in creative thinking/innovation might be useful or necessary in your academic discipline or career field? What concepts or skills from ENG 226 might you apply in those situations to help you solve a problem, answer a complicated question, or innovate a new idea or solution? (Suggestion: look through the readings, etc., from our first unit to find specific ideas, skills, activities, etc., that can help you address this question.)
Other things to be aware of:
Throughout your essay, be thorough, thoughtful, and detailed. Be organized and coherent. This is not an informal freewriting, this is an essay; I expect the same level of polish/professionalism that your Eng 111 and other writing professors expect.
You are strongly encouraged to cite/quote from stories, poems, and essays we’ve read to help support or illustrate your points (and don’t forget the quotes from artists featured at the beginning of each course module). You can also quote from your own creative work. DO NOT provide unnecessarily long quotes just to fill up the page. That’s bad writing.
If you want to, comment on anything else you think is important beyond the questions listed above. Make some insight on yourself as a “creator,” for example. (This sort of insight can make for a nice conclusion to the essay.)
Do not evaluate the course or me in this essay. You’ll have the opportunity to complain about these things on the course evaluation form.
Give the essay a title that is both creative and informative, just as you would with one of your creative works.
This essay need not be formal in terms of voice—just write as yourself, with me as your
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