Introductory course on techniques of writing poetry, short prose fiction, and creative nonfiction. Classes organized around discussion of student work; weekly writing assignments. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
Dates: July 19 - August 13, 2021
This course focuses on experimentation, imitation, and exploration in the art and craft of creative writing. Here, you’ll read with a keen writer’s eye and spawn original pieces of your own—works in four genres: creative nonfiction, fiction, playwriting, and poetry. This summer version of Introduction to Creative Writing is student-driven in its spotlight on paying attention and asking questions, on making choices and connections—and in its emphasis on flexibility. Throughout these rigorous, hope-driven four weeks of learning in an online community, you will be offered lots of options: to participate synchronously (during scheduled face-to-face discussions and writing workshops via MS Teams) or asynchronously (via Blackboard discussions and writing workshops over a varied timeline to meet your own lifestyle needs)—or, ideally, both, depending upon your preferences, inclination, and responsibilities on any given day. You will also be granted choices in genre, asked to dabble—to “try on”—and play in all four (creative nonfiction, fiction, playwriting, and poetry) but to produce final drafts in only two of your chosen forms. To expand exposure, you and your newfound fellow creative writers will also be given the opportunity to BYO-inspiring examples of essays, short stories, plays, and poems to share. Companion craft-based readings present options as well, a kind of design-your-own writing adventure by plucking the “Daily Warm-ups” and other creative exercises that you need most. This creative writing course emphasizes process over finished product—yes, the journey over the destination—honors attempting (the essai in French means “to try”) over being done (that’s for cakes), seeks messes over perfection. Here, you’ll tackle prompts to spur thinking and inspire words. And you’ll come to appreciate the magic of revision and importance of feedback through peer interaction (in small groups via Blackboard and/or MS Teams) and one-on-one professor conferences (face-to-face via MS Teams). Throughout these four weeks, amidst a community of writers, you’ll feel challenged to heighten your imagination, deepen your thinking, expand your personal lexicon through diction and syntax—and to risk vulnerability. In the doing, you’ll discover the critical role of reading—modeling and imitating—while discerning purpose, audience, and point of view. Through your own creative writing endeavors, you’ll discover an innate passion for craft as well as attain confidence in your ongoing potential as a writer. Most essential to this course, to writing—and life itself: Trust the process. Required Texts: Bird by Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott (Anchor), ISBN: 978-0385480017 A must-read for any and every writer, words to motivate, enlighten, and inspire during our four weeks of creating writing. Naming the World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer, ed. by Bret Anthony Johnston (Random House)ISBN:978-0812975482 A book we will dip in and out of over the four weeks, one that offers choices, loaded with exercises “designed to be completed in ten minutes or less...to stoke your imagination, heighten your attention to language, and focus your concentration. Think of them as literary jumping jacks, a regimen to get the blood pumping and the muscles limber so that your work is as strong as possible” (Johnston). Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction, by Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola (McGraw Hill; Third Edition) ISBN: 978-1260454598 Geared toward creative nonfiction, this book offers writers of any genre a place to begin, and we will do just that with “The Body as Memory and Identity” and tuning in to our senses. A subscription to “Poem-a-Day” via Poets.org (free) Access to Blackboard for all course readings and resources and for keeping your online Writer’s Notebook Highly recommended: A portable notebook (“Discourse” Journal), one you love to carry and write in daily to generate ideas that can be transposed into course projects. Writing is a lifestyle.
Writing Drafts in Four Genres: creative nonfiction, short fiction, playwriting, and poetry Completing Final Drafts in Two Genres (chosen from the four studied) Keeping an online Writer’s Notebook Class presence and participation Dynamic involvement in weekly peer-response group workshop
Class presence and participation (via Blackboard and/or MS Teams), includes Discussion Board and Peer Group Workshops: 20% Drafts in 4 Genres: 40% Two Final Drafts: 20% Writer's Notebook 10%
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Courses may be cancelled due to low enrollment. Show your interest by enrolling.
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