2014 - Spring

Advanced Reporting: Writing the Long Form Narative

Course Number: JOUR-UA 301.001

Day & Time: M 2:00pm - 5:40pm

Location: 20 Cooper, 7th Floor Library (rm. 700)

Instructor: Adam L. Penenberg

Prerequisites: The Beat

This is the Capstone course. Subject matter varies from section to section, but the basic skeleton of the course is the same across sections: the emphasis is on development of the ability to produce writing and reporting within a sophisticated longform story structure. The course involves query writing, topic research and reading, interviewing, and repeated drafts and rewrites, leading to a full-length piece of writing aimed at a publishable level and the ability of the student to present the reporting orally.

This seminar focuses on the various components that comprise in-depth magazine stories and non-fiction books. We’ll dissect great modern and classic magazine stories, books and book proposals for story, character arcs, dialogue, scenes, analysis, structure, transitions, verb tense, point of view and style. The goal is to figure out how memorable magazine features and narrative non-fiction books that keep your attention to the very last page are created, then to take what we’ve learned and apply it to our own work. There is one semester-long writing assignment—a 3,000+-word feature story—with several shorter related pieces involving scenes, character, dialogue, or analysis, all of which can be incorporated into your final story. Along the way we’ll work on pitches, research and interview techniques, time management, outlines, editing and multiple drafts, and other challenges today’s non-fiction narrative writers face.