Inquires into basic elements of creative writing that occur in multiple genres and media. Studies and practices writing in a workshop atmosphere.
This workshop-style course will serve as an introduction to writing short fiction and poetry, with special attention paid to the ways writers can blur the lines between the two genres. Students will craft their own original pieces in this community-based classroom, where we will read and comment on each otherís work as well as on outside readings and the work of visiting writers. We will focus first on some of the main strategies used in fiction, such as characterization, point of view, dialogue, and plot, before moving on to the forms of poetry, including the lyric poem, the sonnet, and the list poem. In addition to regular weekly workshops of student work, we will use in-class exercises and experiments to push the boundaries of our own writing, exploring such hybrid forms as flash fiction and photo-text that question the lines we draw between verse and prose. Course requirements include thoughtful and committed class participation, regular writing assignments, and a final portfolio of fiction and poetry.
Student learning goals
Students will learn to read and discuss literary texts, including those produced by peers.
Students will become aware, craft-conscious and critical. Most importantly, students will develop skills in revision.
Students will move beyond the merely descriptive or imaginative creative, and will produce writing that communicates ideas, themes, questions, and arguments.
General method of instruction
Each class period will include discussions of required readings and recordings in fiction and poetry, writing exercises, and conversation about student-produced texts. Students will share work and communicate in class and online.
No background in creative writing is required, but an interest in literature is strongly recommended.
Class assignments and grading
This class does not focus on perfect, polished texts; rather, it focuses on learning specific techniques and slowly putting them together. We will share work that is incomplete, unfinished, and imperfect. Our goal as a class will be to be to envision the future possibilities for these pieces.
Assessment will be based on daily assignments and in-class writings, on work submitted to small groups for workshop, and on a final portfolio. Grades will be determined based on the extent and quality of students' revisions and participation.