From Kerouac to Composition: Integrating Narrative Theory into the Academic Writing Classroom
The ongoing explosion of social media and partisan political publications have brought the question of how narrative should fit into the college writing curriculum to a tipping point. Public communication is no longer solely a matter of employing classic rhetoric. Rather, those who control the narrative of an issue gain remarkable influence over the impact of that issue. It makes sense, therefore, that the fundamentals of narrative theory should be incorporated into the composition curriculum.
As someone who holds a PhD in creative writing and has taught general composition, creative writing, and business communication, I have watched the rise of narrative in public discourse with interest. In 2017, I began teaching narrative theory in my general composition classes, using the traditional persuasive elements college writers are familiar with to demonstrate how integrating such narrative concepts as protagonists, antagonists, inciting incidents, character arcs, and competing narratives into the persuasive writing process can enable writers to guide their readers to adopt innovative ideas and abandon resistance. My presentation will introduce the theory behind my approach and present an overview of how attendees can incorporate this method into the composition classroom.