Write a Full-Length Work of Literary Journalism

If you’re interested in the writing I do, there’s a class for that.

The last writing class I took was English 102 during my freshman year at Miami University. At least that was the last class until I audited Literary Journalism taught by writer Mark Masse’ at Ball State University in 2010. Now the class is online and being offered to anyone interested. (You would enroll as a non-degree (non-licensure) student. If you are interested, Ball State is now offering this class online with Mark. That means you don’t have to worry about driving to Muncie and finding parking on campus, or about wearing pants while attending class! Freedom!

Here’s how Mark describes the class:

J614 is an advanced literary journalistic writing workshop taught in a 100 percent online format. It is designed to give students the opportunity to write an extensive, original narrative nonfiction story. Prior to producing this final writing project, students will work on moderate-length assignments, emphasizing critical skills in exposition, description, characterization, and dramatization.

Here’s how the Ball State course catalog describes it:

614 Writing Literary Journalism (3) An advanced writing workshop, emphasizing specialized journalistic research and narrative nonfiction techniques, including saturation reporting, exposition, description, characterization, and dramatization. Assignments range from moderate length writing exercises to an extensive (5,000-7,500 words) original work of literary journalism.

If you’re still wondering what literary journalism is, it’s using the techniques of a fiction writer in a work of nonfiction. It’s not making crap up! That would be way easier than actual literary journalism that requires doing the leg work, and taking copious amounts of notes, recordings, photos, and videos while collecting verifiable facts and experiences.

I think Where Am I Eating? is a better book and I’m a better writer because of the lessons I learned from Mark on characterization and dramatization. Anyone interested in writing long form nonfiction pieces could benefit from this class.

(Also, auditing this class was crazy cheap. I’m not sure what the online version of it costs now, but I paid $40 for an entire semester of the class. It was so cheap and so awesome that I almost felt guilty about it. Is it tacky to tip professors?)

If you are interested, don’t delay, contact Professor Mark Masse’ at mhmasse@bsu.edu for more details. The semester started yesterday (yep, I’m a little late getting the word out), but I bet that Mark can still squeeze you into his virtual classroom.

If you do take the class, and want another set of eyes on your final, full-length piece, I would be happy to offer my two-cents before you turn it in.

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