Courses and Descriptions

Genres Offered

The Creative Writing Program offers a wide variety of courses in many different genres open to all students. The genres we offer are: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, screenwriting, and playwriting. The Living Writers Series is also a required course for majors and minors.

Screenwriting

CRW 201-Screenwriting: Introductory

This introductory writing course explores the screenwriting genre through practical application of various writing techniques, exercises, and organizational concepts, and through critical analysis of professional screenplays, film clips, and student work.

CRW 301-Screenwriting: Intermediate

Intermediate screenwriting will allow students to analyze films, screenplays, and lectures to continue the structural outcome of the feature-length screenplay, which they started in CRW 201, or an entirely new script of their choosing. Workshops in class with groups as well as those led by the instructor will help students navigate through the structure, format and style of a feautre length film script. Exercises, reading scripts, as well as written and oral critical responses/critques of classmates' work will be required.

CRW 401-Screenwriting: Advanced

Students will complete and revise the screenplay started in earlier classes in an effort to prepare their full-length scripts for future submission and production. To facilitate this, the course relies heavily on staged readings in a workshop setting, so screenwriters can imagine their script moving from page to film. Creating a community where peers aid in a screenplay's development is also a key objective of the course.

Poetry 

CRW 205-Poetry Writing: Introductory

Poet Naomi Shihab Nye writes, "Poetry is a conversation with the world; poetry is a conversation with the words on the page in which you allow those words to speak back to you; and poetry is a conversation with yourself." In English 205, students engage with this conversation while exploring the building blocks of poetry - image, metaphor, diction, voice, line, form, sound, and revision. Class includes some craft lecture, but focuses primarily on discussion of contemporary poets and student work.

CRW 305-Poetry Writing: Intermediate

The core of English 305 is the writing workshop, featuring poems by each student. In addition to extensive writing, revising, and critiquing, students read and discuss several single-author collections of poetry and selected craft essays that encourage experimentation with a variety of poetic styles. We'll also continue to consider what it means to be a literary citizen, both within and beyond the classroom. A final portfolio of revised poetry is required.

CRW 405- Poetry Writing: Advanced

This advanced workshop builds upon English 205 and 305 as students refine their poetic practice and aesthetic. Over the course of the semester, each student will write a chapbook, a focused collection of fully revised poetry. The class also considers how writers remain involved with poetry after college, including explorations of literary journals, publishing, graduate writing programs, and community outreach.

Fiction

CRW 206-Fiction Writing: Introductory

Toni Morrison wrote: "If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." You can get started in this beginning to fiction writing workshop. You'll be reading contemporary short stories and writing exercises using a variety of fiction techniques. In the latter half of the semester everyone will produce a full-length story, which will be discussed by the entire class. You'll be giving written critiques of everyone's stories and this will help you form a critical aesthetic in the genre.

CRW 306-Fiction Writing: Intermediate

This course is an intensive workshop in fiction writing in which you will examine student stories as well as stories from The Best American Short Stories. Students will develop and discuss their aesthetic prinicipals. Requirements: 3 stories or sections of a novel, story responses, self-assessment paper, and use of Angel.

CRW 406-Fiction Writing: Advanced- Flash Fiction

It takes skill to compress the universe of a story or tale into less than a thousand words. Flash fiction must deliver an impact that ramifies in subtext while paying attention to economies of scale. In this class we'll be writing almost a dozen different flash fictions, and we'll be reading widely contemporary flash fiction. The course will require you to write flash fiction every week. You will be expected to make group presentations and organize a portfolio of your best work.

CRW 406-Fiction Writing: Advanced- Horror

This course looks at an established sub-genre of fiction, in this case, horror. Horror takes ordinary fears and anxieties and elevates them to concrete status within the story. Students will read and respond to stories in the sub-genre, but will be encouraged to explore and formulate principals about the sub-genre that interests them the most. Requirements: 3 stories or sections of a novel, story responses, self-assessment paper, and use of Angel.

Playwriting

CRW 207-Playwriting: Introductory

This introductory course in playwriting uses a wide-variety of techniques, exercises, and organizational concepts to explore the particular challeneges and rewards of this genre. Existing theatrical literature as well as our own work will be evaluated and discussed, culminating in a ten-page play.

CRW 307-Playwriting: Intermediate

Advanced playwriting techniques will be explored with the specific objective of creating a one-act play (or the first act of a full-length play). Exsisting theatre literature will be analyzed with particular emphasis on modern use of language.

CRW 407-Playwriting: Advanced

This advanced playwriting course focuses on revision and development as playwrights prepare their one-act plays for future submission to professional theatrical organizations. To facilitate this, the course relies heavily on staged readings in a workshop setting, modeling the traditional procedure for play development in America. Creating a writing community where peers aid in a play's development is also a key objective in this course.

Nonfiction

CRW 208-Creative Nonfiction Writing: Introductory

This is an introductory workshop in nonfiction. Students will read and discuss the work of established writers and will become familiar with creative writing skills such as crafting scenes, using dialogue effectively, and building strong characters and themes. They will complete weekly exercises and write two essays. Students improve writing skills, share constructive criticism in a workshop setting, begin to build critical vocabulary and become familiar with the genre of nonfiction.

CRW 308- Creative Nonfiction Writing: Intermediate

This is an intermediate nonfiction workshop. Students will read and discuss their creative nonfiction by established writers, write their own essays, and critique the work of their peers. Students will conduct various forms of research to establish mastery over chosen subject matter. They will investigate technical and aesthetic aspects of the genre , and ponder ethical questions, such as "what is truth?" and "do I have a right to use other people's stories as my own?" One full-length essay as well as several short pieces will be required.

CRW 408-Creative Nonfiction Writing: Advanced

This is an advanced workshop in creative nonfiction. Students will read and discuss samples of the essay form by established writers, write their own essays for workshop, and refine the practice of critique. We'll discuss issues of importance to nonfiction writers, such as the rise of the e-book, iTunes' experiment to offer essays for sale, and the always-relevant subject of factual truth versus emotional truth. We'll further persue ways to integrate research and investigate ways to expand subject matter byond the realm of simple memoir. We'll study contemporary literary journals and other resources for writers and students will submit work to online and print journals.

Living Writers Series

CRW 300- Living Writers Series

This large-lecture course explores the creative process via a series of talks presented by writers across the genres and may include other members of the writing community (editors, librarians, publishers). Students develop their own values and aesthetics, and articulate them through exercises and assignments; participants become aquainted with the challenges, practices, and rewards of "the writing life." Open to all majors/minors. For more information about the Living Writers Series, click here.