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Personal Narrative

Course Code: CRWR 1202
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Creative Writing
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course concentrates on writing based on personal experience. Students develop an awareness of both self and the creative process by shaping biographical material into readable narratives. Instruction in a workshop format will focus on techniques needed to produce such creative forms as creative non-fiction, fiction, and poetry.

Course Content

  1. Students’ manuscripts.
  2. Discussion and analysis of selections from textbook(s).

Methods of Instruction

Classes will be conducted in the workshop format. The following may be combined with the workshop:

  • lecture and discussions
  • in-class and take-home exercises
  • small group work
  • interviews
  • assigned reading

Means of Assessment

Students will be evaluated on the basis of at least five assignments. These may include personal narrative (based on student’s biography), personal narrative (based on experiences of student’s family or community member), one piece of short fiction, and/or poetry, all of which count for a minimum of 60% of the grade. Other evaluations may include class participation, in-class writing assignments, and self-evaluation of submitted material.

Students are required to attend 80% of the workshops. A student missing more than 20% of the workshops without receiving prior permission from the instructor will receive 0 in Class Participation. Leaving after the break is considered half an absence.

Learning Outcomes

General Objectives:

Students will

  1. discover narratives in their own biographies and in the lives of their families and communities;
  2. learn how to transform these narratives into non-fiction, fiction, and poetry;
  3. present these forms to the workshop for discussion; and
  4. develop skills in selection and revision.

Specific Objectives:


  1. Students will learn to recognize the value of their own life experiences and observations as a basis for writing.
  2. Students will learn to recognize anecdotes, tall tales, gossip, yarns, myths and other forms of narratives in their own lives and in their families and communities.
  3. Students will learn to identify narratives in their own lives and in their families and communities that are particularly significant in their own biographies.


  1. Students will learn to write first-person non-fiction narratives that are appropriately detailed.
  2. Students will learn to transform first-person narratives into short fiction through necessary developments in point of  view, structure, plot and characterization.
  3. Students will learn to metamorphose first-person narratives into poems through the use of compression and through the development of imagery.


  1. Students will recognize the value of revision as an essential part of the process of articulating and refining written thought and feeling.
  2. Students will learn to consider critical suggestions from peers and instructor, and incorporate these revisions where suitable.
  3. Students will learn to critique their own narratives and their short fictions and poems.
  4. Students will learn to recognize and use in their critiques technical terms related to the craft of writing.

course prerequisites

Any College entrance Language Proficiency Requirement with the exceptions of the Douglas College Course Options in ELLA or ENGU and the assessments listed below. These require the specified higher standard for entry into CMNS, CRWR and ENGL courses.

  • a minimum grade of C- in ELLA 0460, or a minimum grade of C- in both ELLA 0465 and 0475, OR
  • a minimum grade of C- in ENGU 0450 or ENGU 0455 or ENGU 0490, OR
  • Mastery in ELLA 0330 and any two of ELLA 0310, 0320, or 0340, OR
  • TOEFL overall score of 83 with a minimum of 24 in Writing, OR
  • IELTS overall score of 6.5 with no band below 6.0, OR
  • CLB score of 8, OR
  • CEFR level B2+, OR
  • CAEL minimum overall and essay score of 70 (computer or paper based), OR
  • recognized equivalent or exemption.


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.