This one-semester elective course is intended as a practical, hands-on guide to help you learn and sharpen your skills as a creative writer.
The course is structured into lessons and course activities as follows:
- The first lesson describes the process of and motivations for creative writing and answers basic questions about creative writing. (“What makes for a budding creative writer?” “What strengths should I build on to become one?” “Where should I look for ideas?”). You will learn about the scope of creative writing and its genres.
- The second lesson focuses on the personal essay and travel writing—two forms of nonfiction. Besides learning about desirable attributes in these two sub-genres, you’ll try your hand at writing diaries and speeches. You will also record a short speech for self-review and revision.
- The next four lessons look at prose and poetry and explore the elements of fiction: plot, setting, and characterization. In the course activities that follow, you’ll get to write a full length short story, as well as a chapter from a novel of your own imagination. You will also learn about the poetry writing process and try your hand at a few poetic forms.
- In the next three lessons, you’ll look at writing for stage, film, and TV. You’ll learn about theatrical and film techniques, as well as technical effects that are typically used in electronic media. Learning about plot and character-creation techniques will help you write a play of your own in the following course activity.
- The next three lessons take you through writing for younger audiences, for advertising, and journalism. You’ll get to write a news editorial as well as an editorial review of a book or film.
- The last lesson introduces you to the publishing industry—the way it works and the way you should approach it. You will also learn about marketing and promotion planning for your work.
At key points in this course, you will get to assess your own original writing (either through self-review against a set of guidelines or by a peer) and revise it before submission to the instructor. You will notice that extended writing tasks are typically planned for in the lesson activity and actually written in the course activity that follows.
This is a writing intensive course. You will spend about 60 percent of your time doing original writing, reviewing, and rewriting. You will do a good deal of your original writing in the course activities.