CW101 - Introduction to Creative Writing
In this course, we will explore writing across the genres of creative fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry. We will help students build up the habits of good writing, and, more importantly, we will lay down the foundations to the craft of writing. As we read works from some of the best writers in the English language, we will examine how writers put their stories together - so that we can apply these techniques to our own writing.
CW201 - Crafting Characters: devices of plot and symbolism
What makes a character “round” or “flat?” When might we choose to create flat, rather than round, characters? What makes a character compelling? How and why do we empathize with one persona more than another? Is there such a thing as an empathy gap, and if yes, how do we breach it? This course will explore examples of strong characterization in the context of their physical and political world in order to answer the above questions. Through reading published texts, we will examine how writers craft dialogue, voice, and point-of-view in their character-driven stories. We will also explore how contemporary writers draw on both archetypal characters (e.g. the hero, the villain, the sage)and psychological theories to build their characters.
CW202 - Setting and Worldbuilding: creating the texture of reality
In this course, aspiring writers will be introduced to the techniques that writers use to ground a story in a concrete world. From the most realist settings to the most fantastical, writers will learn how to describe physical and psychological worlds in sharp, sensory detail. We will practice how to build verisimilitude through research, and explore ways in which we can make the story world a vehicle for our plot and characters. We will also explore various approaches to worldbuilding -from psychogeography to political ecology – and how these script the ways in which our characters move through their worlds.
CW203 - Experimenting with Narrative: architecture, time, and pacing
Storytelling comes in many forms, some of which are traditional and long-beloved, some of which are purposefully unconventional. In this course, we will explore narratives that are non-linear, cyclical, self-disruptive, or even nonsensical. We will study how this compares to the default chronological story structure and dissect the why and how of each, focusing on the integral role that pacing plays in each case.
CW204 - Poetic Forms: the shapes of thought
What is the difference between form and structure? How do lines and stanzas differ from sentences and paragraphs? What is a mode, and how does it relate to form? In addition to examining traditional forms – from sonnets to villanelles, sestinas to blank verse – this course will also introduce students to contemporary verse forms, such as prose poems and graphic or visual poetry. Ultimately, this course attempts to answer the following questions: how does poetic form shape meaning for the reader, and how does it affect the process of thought for the writer?
CW301 - The Art of Style: using language, tone, and atmosphere
While plot and character are the flesh and bones of a story, tone and style are what truly sets a story apart. Throughout this course, students will explore how writers put pressure on language to complicate or support a narrative. Whatis the relationship between emotion and style? How does atmosphere affect the immediacy of a plot? By identifying, analyzing, and experimenting with stylistic decisions, we will learn to develop and discover our own distinctive artistic styles.
CW401 - Literature & Society
Writing is a way of interacting with the world. This course investigates the writer’s relation to culture, both currently and historically. It addresses questions such as the relation of criticism to imaginative literature, the rise and fall of specific literary genres, the effect of educational institutions on the production and consumption of literary works, the state of the publishing industry, and international literary contexts.