Day(s): F 12:20p - 4:00p
Course ID: V54.0202.001
Instructor(s): James McBride
Syllabus: Download PDF
Be ready to write longhand. No computers. No cell phones in class. Pencil and
yellow legal sized paper only. Please be on time. Bring a jacket and a metro card.
For the first class, there is absolute silence when you enter the room. No
talking. Not even to say hello to your neighbor. You want to hear a hello? Here it
is: Hello. Now, no talking for the first ten minutes of class. It sounds stupid, but it
is our first exercise.
Good writing is all about finding the right detail or set of details that will show, not
tell, the event to the listener. You are always fighting gravity, always fighting the reader
who will close the paper, book, magazine and tune you out. We will focus on placing you
in the right mental place to find the details that will tell the story, from your perspective, in
a way that is honest to your truth and hold the reader.
There will be some reading aloud in class. There will be no bloodlettings. If
you’re willing to fail, you will be successful. If you’re already a journalistic success, this
isn’t the class for you. Remember, writing is the act of continually failing at excellence,
and uniformity is the ceiling against which great writing will forever bump. The mid term
and final will be your writing.
Before each class, you will be expected to read the following excerpts from “A
Nietzsche Reader” (Penguin) translated by R. J. Hollingdale. They are not long, but they
are important. We may alter this list based on my assessment of your abilities . Reading
assignments in Gary Smith and Micheal Herr’s books, as well as our Marvel Comic
class, will be assigned as we go deeper into the semester and I am able to assess your