Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
WR 246
Course Title:
Advanced Creative Writing, Editing & Publishing
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Emphasizes development of craft while introducing basics of editing others' manuscripts and preparing them for publication in a variety of forms, including an annual student literary magazine. May be repeated twice for credit. Prerequisites: (WR 240 or 241 or 242 or 243) and (WR 244 or 245) or instructor permission. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

A brief interview with the instructor may be necessary before enrollment in the course. Students are encouraged to continue study in literature and languages as well as other creative writing courses.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Outcomes for this course require working through multiple drafts of several pieces of writing with time to separate the acts of writing and revising; in addition, the reading outcomes require time to read, reread, reflect, respond, interpret, analyze, and evaluate.
Upon completion of the course, students should be able to:
1. Solicit and then read a variety of literary and artistic submissions, and use appropriate critical language to define an aesthetic to guide the
evaluation process and the decisions to accept or reject manuscripts.
2. Work cooperatively and communicate effectively with co-editors and contributors to edit and publish a small literary publication, using critical thinking
and problem solving to address the multitude of mechanical and strategic problems and possibilities in publishing.
3. Respond fairly, intelligently, and professionally to a variety of literary and artistic submissions, showing respect for themselves and others as
4. Participate in a complete publication cycle, engaging in the mechanics of keyboarding, design, layout, and proofreading; and
communicate effectively with the professionals who handle other aspects of publication, such as the printing and binding.
5. Write their own creative writing with greater knowledge and self-awareness.

Course Activities and Design

Students meet for four hours in class during the week as well as for special sessions if workload or deadline necessitate them. In addition to reading and workshopping their own work, students will solicit and review manuscripts and artwork for inclusion in the literary and art magazines (Alchemy, Alembic, Mercury, Rock Creek Review, and Pointed Circle). Classroom methods vary as necessary to prepare for the publication of the quarterly and annual literary and arts magazines. These methods may include lectures, conferences, demonstrations, assigned readings or field trips to learn about printing, graphic arts, photography, typesetting, marketing, layout, and small-press operation. Students may be required to attend and participate in public readings that they will organize for contributing writers in conjunction with marketing the magazine. The instructor should spend approximately an hour of conference with each student outside of class.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The course grade is determined by appraisal of the student's participation and contribution to the group effort of producing the literary and arts magazine. Evaluation is based upon effectiveness, dependability and timeliness in carrying out responsibilities; contribution of imaginative and workable ideas; application of critical values as developed in this and other classes; successful completion of any other assigned work, such as a personal chapbook and creative writing; willingness to accept a fair share of drudgery; and acceptance of responsibility for editorial choices. Attendance policies vary with instructors: students missing a week's worth of class may not expect an A; those missing two weeks' worth may not pass the course.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Desktop publishing
  • Becoming conversant with current desktop publishing software, such as
    • InDesign
    • Photoshop
    • OmniPage Direct
    • MS Word
  • Book design and typography
  • Self-publishing
  • Designing and producing a small chapbook
  • Producing a campus literary magazine: Alchemy, Alembic, Mercury, Pointed Circle, or Rock Creek Review
  • Furthering creative writing skills
  • Publishing and the business of literature
  • Editing and proofreading skills
  • Sharpening critical skills


The following items are intended as descriptions of instructor€™s choices of texts in the past as an aid to choosing texts in the future. This is not intended as a prescribed or recommended list of texts. A text or texts may be designated by the instructor based on the objectives outlined in this course content guide. Some possibilities include previous editions of Alchemy, Alembic, Mercury, Pointed Circle, Rock Creek Review and current and previous editions of other literary and arts journals.

1. Editing and Publishing Texts

  • Bringhurst, Robert, The Elements of Typographic Style
  • The Chicago Manual of Style
  • Fulton, Len, ed., International Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses
  • Gross, Gerald, Editors on Editing
  • Kenly, Eric, & Mark Beach, Getting It Printed
  • Klaiman, Ann Edgerly, Publishing the Literary Magazine
  • Lee, Marshall. Bookmaking: Editing/Design/Production, 3rd edition
  • Shushan, Ronnie and Don Wright. Desktop Publishing by Design.
  • Wheildon, Colin, Type & Layout: How Typography and Design Can Get Your Message Across€”or Get in the Way
  • Williams, Robin, The Non-Designer€™s Type Book
  • Writer€™s Market


2. Creative Writing Texts

  • Bishop, Wendy. Working Words: The Process of Creative Writing.
  • Burke, Carol, and Molly Best Tinsley, The Creative Process
  • Chi, Lu. Wen Fu: The Art of Writing.
  • DeMaria, Robert. The College Handbook of Creative Writing.
  • Knorr, Jeff, and Tim Shell, Mooring Against the Tide: Writing Fiction and Poetry
  • Schaefer, Candace, and Rick Diamond, The Creative Writing Guide: Poetry, Fiction, Literary Nonfiction, Drama.
  • The Writing Business: A Poets and Writers Handbook.
  • Joselow, Beth Baruch, Writing without the Muse: 60 Beginning Exercises for the Creative Writer

3. Literature Anthologies

  • Abcarian, Richard, & Marvin Klotz, Literature: The Human Experience
  • Wendy Steiner, Literature as Meaning

 Instructors new to the course should contact the campus creative writing chair, creative writing sub-SAC chair, Comp/Lit SAC chair, faculty department chair, or administrative support person for further information.

The primary purpose of the course content and outcome guide is to provide faculty a SAC-approved outline of the course. It is not intended to replace the course syllabus, which details course content and requirements for students.