The Final Portfolio
Click here for the Google Docs version of this assignmentLinks to an external site. (this doc contains tips from Michelle to help you with the assignment!)
What it is
The portfolio is a collection of some of the writing you’ve done in this course: a “final” heavily revised draft of your story or poetry, as well as a reflective essay that explores and explains what you’ve done in your original rough draft and “final” draft.
If you’re a Creative Writing major (or thinking about becoming 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.
- A heavily revised “final” draft of your story OR poetry from Workshop
- A reflective essay
How to submit your portfolio
You’ll submit your revised”final” draft and your reflective essay as a single file (copy and paste everything into one document).
CAUTION: Before you upload this file, be 100% certain that you’re uploading an acceptable file type (.doc, docx, .pdf, .rft, .odt)
CAUTION: Before you upload this file, be 100% certain that it includes everything you need to submit for this assignment. If you forget to include something, there will be no time for me to follow up with you about it. You will earn a 0 grade for anything missing.
How it’s graded
The portfolio is worth 100 points of your final grade. The “final” draft is worth 25 points, and the reflective essay is worth 75 points. Grading criteria is described below.
Revised “Final” Draft
For your revised “final” draft, choose one genre from your workshop draft to revise—either your story or your poetry. If you choose to revise your story, revise what you’ve already written AND add at least three new pages to it. If you choose to revise your poetry, revise what you’ve already written AND compose at least two additional PAGES of poetry.
I don’t expect your creative work to be completely finished. For example, your revised story draft might only be 5 pages long, and “end” in the middle of the story. I do expect your “final” draft to show strong evidence that you’ve engaged in the development of your story/poetry. This evidence will include elements of craft in your work, and the general sense I get that you’ve applied your knowledge of writing craft to make careful, deliberate choices in your work. 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.
Write an essay that reflects on the writing process behind your creative work. 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.
Your essay should be at least 3-5 pages (750-1000 words) in response to the items below.
- 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.)
- 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 audience.