Learn and practice the essentials of compelling creative writing!
Come explore elements that live at the heart of fiction, non-fiction and poetry in this eight-session introduction to creative writing. Either as an introduction or a refresher, this class will guide you into the exciting and profound practice of writing. Write the things you have always wanted to write. Write the things you had no idea you needed to write.
Creative Writing Essentials pairs strategies for generating and developing ideas with discussions of core principles of craft. Delightful generative prompts will help you get going and keep going, while we look at elements of writing that will help you shape your work. You will leave with lots of work as well as lots of methods for creating new work. You will be encouraged to work on fiction, non-fiction, poetry or any other writing that you want to investigate.
Foundations of Craft
Each week we’ll explore a different foundational craft element. Consider them the building blocks of all strong writing. Classes will focus on:
- intention, necessity and occasion
- specific language choices
- point of view
- the art of re-seeing
Along with focused, generative exercises and discussion, we’ll read published examples of writing to analyze and interpret elements of writing as we put the principles into practice in our own work. You will also learn and build skills through take-home exercises, and have the opportunity to share work and collaborate on guided critical response. Each week, we will look into how the individual elements we are studying inform each other and, together, create whole work.
New Pages, New People
You’ll leave the class with an understanding of basic writing craft, along with a body of work that can serve as the base for a whole lot of other work. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll connect with other writers and expand your creative support team. Writing happens better when we do not do it alone.
No matter what you want to write, or if you do not yet know what you want to write, Creative Writing Essentials offers guidance and practical tools to get going and keep going.
Students do not need any prepared work before the course begins. The only requirements are some way to record words and an open imagination!
Week 1: Intention, Necessity and Occasion: We will talk about the underlying driving force that makes a piece of writing hum. Through generative exercises, you’ll tap into these elements and begin to identify how to use them in your work. Class reading includes Ode to My Socks by Pablo Neruda.
Week 2: Specific Language Choices: This week looks into how language choice can inform everything from mood to character. Exercises will give you the opportunity to experiment with language and test the results. Class reading includes excerpts from Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich.
Week 3: Time: Shakespear told us to make use of time, and so we shall. We will look at multiple ways time can impact a piece of writing and engage with some exercises that will help you tame this mammoth force. Class reading includes Gorilla My Love by Toni Cade Bambara.
Week 4: Point of View: We will consider who is telling your story or speaking your poem and what choices you might want to make around that. Exercises will guide you through the discovery of what happens when the view shifts. Class reading includes excerpts from Deacon King Kong by James McBride.
Week 5: Structure: It’s time to start thinking about shape. From standard plot and poetry structures to frames that break the norms, we will look at scaffolding that can support your work and how your work can support its scaffolding. Class reading includes selections from Palm-of-the-hand Stories by Yasunari Kawabata and The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson.
Week 6: Audience: In this week we will think about who is in the metaphorical room with us when we write and how they might impact our writing. We will do exercises that engage the power of audience. Class reading includes The Chicken by Clarice Lispector.
Week 7: Rhythm: This week we will shine a light on the beats and repetitions and rhymes and dissonance that make writing, from langage choice to structure to character action. Exercises will encourage you to play with these elements and hear your writing new. Class reading includes excerpts from Sabrina by Nick Denaso.
Week 8: The Art of Re-Seeing: This is the week that we set you up for even more success as we look at methods for reseeing, revisioning, recrafting work and, also, explore your specific writing processes. Class reading includes Conversations with My Father by Grace Paley.
WHAT DOES THIS CLASS INCLUDE?
Outside reading: One short story per week. Authors include Svetlana Alexievich, James McBride, Toni Cade Bambara and others.