Courses

The official UBC descriptions of all Creative Writing Program courses can be found here:

UBC online course calendar

The Course schedule showing dates & times is available through the UBC Course Schedule. Be sure to select the correct term when viewing this, as it defaults to the current term (so in summer it will show summer courses rather than fall/winter courses).

The introductory undergraduate Creative Writing course is CRWR 200. It is required for all minor students before other courses can be taken. Please also see the Minor Program section for details on which courses are required to get a Minor in Creative Writing.

Expanded Course Descriptions 2017/18 Academic Year


CRWR 200-001 (term 1) Introduction to Creative Writing (3 credits)
Taylor Brown-Evans

A hands-on introduction to techniques of and practice in multiple genres of writing, including fiction realism, popular fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenplay, stageplay, graphic forms, lyric forms, children’s literature, and writing for new media. Students will learn through a series of lectures, guest author discussions, in-class and take home writing exercises and self and peer evaluation. Manuscript submission is not required for admission.

Note: this course may be also taken online-only (lecture capture) as CRWR 200-006


CRWR 200-002 (term 2) Introduction to Creative Writing (3 credits)
Tariq Hussain

This course is designed for students looking to develop their writing skills through an exploration of a variety of creative genres. Using a combination of lectures, in-class writing exercises, and take-home writing assignments, students will be given the chance to explore a variety of topics and concepts designed to elevate their craft such as how to construct story arcs, handling structure, character development, image building, point of view and creating effective dialogue. Genres to be explored include fiction, creative nonfiction (including memoir, personal essay, profile), poetry, songwriting, screenwriting, and playwriting. Attendance and discussion are encouraged. This course is an inspiring and fun introduction to the world of creative writing and is sure to get your creative juices flowing.


CRWR 200-003 (term 1) Introduction to Creative Writing (3 credits)
Tariq Hussain

This course is designed for students looking to develop their writing skills through an exploration of a variety of creative genres. Using a combination of lectures, in-class writing exercises, and take-home writing assignments, students will be given the chance to explore a variety of topics and concepts designed to elevate their craft such as how to construct story arcs, handling structure, character development, image building, point of view and creating effective dialogue. Genres to be explored include fiction, creative nonfiction (including memoir, personal essay, profile), poetry, songwriting, screenwriting, and playwriting. Attendance and discussion are encouraged. This course is an inspiring and fun introduction to the world of creative writing and is sure to get your creative juices flowing.


CRWR 200-004 (term 2)  Introduction to Creative Writing (3 credits)
Taylor Brown-Evans

A hands-on introduction to techniques of and practice in multiple genres of writing, including fiction realism, popular fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenplay, stageplay, graphic forms, lyric forms, children’s literature, and writing for new media. Students will learn through a series of lectures, guest author discussions, in-class and take home writing exercises and self and peer evaluation. Manuscript submission is not required for admission.


CRWR 200-005 (term 1) – Introduction to Creative Writing (3 credits)
Tariq Hussain

This course is designed for students looking to develop their writing skills through an exploration of a variety of creative genres. Using a combination of lectures, in-class writing exercises, and take-home writing assignments, students will be given the chance to explore a variety of topics and concepts designed to elevate their craft such as how to construct story arcs, handling structure, character development, image building, point of view and creating effective dialogue. Genres to be explored include fiction, creative nonfiction (including memoir, personal essay, profile), poetry, songwriting, screenwriting, and playwriting. Attendance and discussion are encouraged. This course is an inspiring and fun introduction to the world of creative writing and is sure to get your creative juices flowing.


CRWR 200-006 (term 2) Introduction to Creative Writing (3 credits) ONLINE SECTION
Taylor Brown-Evans

Note: This course is taken online. Videos of lectures will be made available on Connect twice a week (Wednesdays and Fridays). Quizzes and assignments will be offered through Connect.

A hands-on introduction to techniques of and practice in multiple genres of writing, including fiction realism, popular fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, screenplay, stageplay, graphic forms, lyric forms, children’s literature, and writing for new media. Students will learn through a series of lectures, guest author discussions, in-class and take home writing exercises and self and peer evaluation. Manuscript submission is not required for admission.


CRWR 201-001 (term 1)  Introduction to Writing Poetry (3 credits)
Sheryda Warrener

“Real poetry is a party, a wild party, a party where anything might happen. A party from which you may never return home.” Dorothea Lasky

An introduction to writing poems, students will tinker with language to find out what makes poetry tick. Craft discussions about diction, image, metaphor, line, style and form will provide a basis for inquiry into the decisions poets make when creating poems, and what effect these decisions have on the reader.

Discussions will be supplemented by guest lectures, peer-to-peer feedback, group work, writing prompts, in-class writing practice and through reading some of the best contemporary poems published today – poems like grenades that go off underfoot, poems with trap doors, poems that orbit like cosmic debris, poems as sly as foxes or as quiet at stones, funny poems, down-to-earth poems – poems that deliver such incredible whole-hearted experience one can’t help but want to read more.


CRWR 201-002 (term 2)  Introduction to Writing Poetry (3 credits)
Ian Williams

The purpose of this course is to acquaint you with the pleasures of poetry. Poems are still powerful, influential engines that drive culture forward. We encounter them daily in everything from music to the tweet. This course seeks to make you a more conscious participant and producer of that movement. To do so, we will explore traditional and contemporary forms, and learn how to manipulate these for our own purposes.

Understandably, poetry can be intimidating. The course will give you vocabulary to discuss poetry, strategies for overcoming writers’ block, and tools to decode its mysteries. Furthermore, we will occasionally invite guest poets into our class for additional insight into their process and into the writing life.

The shape of the course changes with the hope that you can experience poetry at its largest, most performative scale as well as its smallest, most intimate one. You can expect interactive lectures, small group sessions for feedback, and individual writing time.


CRWR 203-001 (term 2) – Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults (3 credits)
Emily Pohl-Weary

Through lectures, discussion, individual and paired or small-group work, in-class exercises and writing assignments, we will explore the fundamentals of writing for children and young adults in the main forms and genres.

Writing for children and young adults is unusual in that it is defined by audience instead of form, freeing us to consider the whole range of material available to young readers. We will concentrate on the structural elements and conventions of teen and juvenile fiction and picture books, but, as time permits, we will also discuss writing for screen and stage, graphic novels and the many ways writers and artists are developing nowadays to interweave word and image. We will consider the three main genres— contemporary realistic fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy—and several subgenres within each.

You will be assessed through three written assignments, in-class writing exercises, workshop feedback to peers, and regular participation in class. The three-hour classes this term will make attendance even more critical than usual, and will provide us with wonderful opportunities for in-class writing and sharing.


CRWR 203-002 (term 1) – Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults  (3 credits)
Maggie de Vries

Through lectures, discussion, individual and paired or small-group work, in-class exercises and writing assignments, we will explore the fundamentals of writing for children and young adults in the main forms and genres.

Writing for children and young adults is unusual in that it is defined by audience instead of form, freeing us to consider the whole range of material available to young readers. We will concentrate on the structural elements and conventions of teen and juvenile fiction and picture books, but, as time permits, we will also discuss writing for screen and stage, graphic novels and the many ways writers and artists are developing nowadays to interweave word and image. We will consider the three main genres— contemporary realistic fiction, historical fiction, and fantasy—and several subgenres within each.

You will be assessed through three written assignments, in-class writing exercises, workshop feedback to peers, and regular participation in class. The three-hour classes this term will make attendance even more critical than usual, and will provide us with wonderful opportunities for in-class writing and sharing.


CRWR 205-001 (term 1) / 205-002 (term 2) Introduction to Writing Creative Nonfiction (3 credits)
Kevin Chong

In this lecture-based introductory course we’ll be focusing on reading, writing, and understanding the various forms of creative non-fiction (CNF): memoir, essay, rhetoric, cultural criticism, travel, and literary journalism. We’ll also explore how CNF is expressed in non-prose forms like radio, graphic novel, and new media. Key concepts of each form will be examined through lectures, guest speakers, in-class discussion, and readings. We will also explore the writing techniques and practices relevant to each form.

In-class writing will give students an opportunity to apply those key concepts and provide a launching pad for their creative endeavours. Quizzes will test both your application and understanding of key concepts and texts. Writing assignments will give students an opportunity to attempt a few of the non-fiction forms introduced in the class.

With CRWR 205, I hope students will leave the class with an expanded sense of the possibilities of creative nonfiction.


CRWR 206-001 (term 1) – Introduction to Writing for the Screen
Sharon McGowan

This hands-on course offers the student an overview of the art and craft of screenwriting, concentrating on visual storytelling and classical narrative screenplay structure. We will screen and discuss a variety of films (complete and excerpted) in class, analyzing and examining the essentials that bring a script to life. Through in-class exercises students will explore the basics of visual storytelling and screenplay formatting as well as the key elements of dramatic film structure, character development and dialogue.  Students will also learn the basics of pitching a fictional screenplay, a vital skill for advancing a career in screenwriting. There will be several quizzes in class and students will write an original first draft short silent screenplay and an original short screenplay with dialogue.


CRWR 206-003 (term 2) – Introduction to Writing for the Screen
Sara Graefe

This hands-on course offers the student an overview of the art and craft of screenwriting, concentrating on visual storytelling and classical narrative screenplay structure. We will screen and discuss a variety of films (complete and excerpted) in class, analyzing and examining the essentials that bring a script to life. Through in-class exercises students will explore the basics of visual storytelling and screenplay formatting as well as the key elements of dramatic film structure, character development and dialogue.  Students will also learn the basics of pitching a fictional screenplay, a vital skill for advancing a career in screenwriting. There will be several quizzes in class and students will write an original first draft short silent screenplay and an original short screenplay with dialogue.


CRWR 208 001 (term 1) / 208-002 (term 2) – Introduction to Writing for Graphic Forms (3 credits)
Sarah Leavitt

What happens when you combine words and images in a single narrative? Some would say magic, and they’d be right. But like all forms of writing, comics can be closely examined and analyzed, and we can identify the key elements that make them work. Through lectures on history and craft, readings, discussion and hands on writing/drawing exercises, students will learn how to create their own short comics. Comics studied in class will include a selection of graphic novels, memoirs, comic strips, web comics, manga and more, from the 17th century to 2016, from a diverse range of cartoonists. Be prepared to have fun and work hard at the same time. The focus is on creating compelling narratives by combining words and images: you don’t need any previous drawing or writing experience.


CRWR 209-001 (term 1) 209-002 (term 2) – Introduction to Writing Fiction (3 credits)
John Vigna

This 3-credit course offers students an opportunity to explore and practice the fundamentals of writing fiction through a combination of lectures and in-class writing exercises. Guest presentations by published authors will examine the specifics of craft and process. Graded writing assignments and in-class quizzes will offer students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the ideas presented. Regular attendance is vital, assignment due dates are sacred, and there is a fair amount of reading and writing, but if you can handle that, you’ll have an enjoyable and productive time in this class.


CRWR 209-002 (term 2) – Introduction to Writing Fiction (3 credits)
Annabel Lyon

This 3-credit course offers students an opportunity to explore and practice the fundamentals of writing fiction through a combination of lectures and in-class writing exercises. Guest presentations by published authors will examine the specifics of craft and process. Graded writing assignments and in-class quizzes will offer students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the ideas presented. Regular attendance is vital, assignment due dates are sacred, and there is a fair amount of reading and writing, but if you can handle that, you’ll have an enjoyable and productive time in this class.


CRWR 213-001 (term 1)  / 213-002 (term 2) – Introduction to Writing for the New Media (3 credits)
Jennifer Moss

As media changes form, writers must adapt. The new media landscape is a perpetual ‘wild west’ that we all have a hand in creating, destroying and re-building. What potential does it hold for writers, and what limitations? In this course, you will cultivate a nuanced understanding of contemporary new media that will inform your role in shaping its future as both a writer and a digital citizen. The class considers how writing and reading are changing alongside an evolving transmedia landscape, and how new norms of audience engagement impact the way narrative is produced and received. Through multi-media lectures, discussions, guest speakers from various new media niches, in-class creative work, and writing assignments across genres, this course equips you with the critical framework and writing skills to engage meaningfully and productively with the ever-evolving faces of media. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, podcasting, blogging, trans-media, collaborative, and interactive storytelling are all on the menu. Assignments will see you confronting the necessities of writing effectively in a public, multidisciplinary, interactive context while challenging you to connect your writing with matters close to your heart.

CRWR 230-001 (term 1) / 230-002 (term 2) – Introduction to Writing for Comedic Forms (3 credits)
Dina Del Bucchia

In this course we will study humour writing across various forms, styles and genres, including: joke-writing; stand-up and sketch comedy; comic prose and verse; television; film; stage; and new media. Lectures and discussions will be complemented by writing-prompts, group work, readings, and engaging with media relevant to all areas of comedic forms covered. A major learning objective for this course is to develop a greater understanding of comic structures and style, as well as exploring issues of comedy and free speech, and comedy as social commentary. Students will have the opportunity to not only write their own comedic pieces, but to consider the power of jokes and how humour can affect an audience.


CRWR 301A-001 (term 2) – Intermediate Writing Poetry (3 credits)
Sheryda Warrener

In every constructive bit of advice offered in the workshop is a secret message to ourselves about our own work. Learning how to read with an eye for revision and to give worthwhile feedback is the focus of this seminar. By covering the lecture component online, class time is freed up for workshop, discussion, writing practice and community-building. A range of formal and stylistic devices – poem-as-letter, prose poem, found poems and erasure, influence, intention, comedy, and visual art – emphasizes the varied creative decisions that go into making a poem memorable. CRWR 201 is strongly recommended as a pre-requisite.


CRWR 302A-001 (term 1) – Writing for Podcast (3 credits)
Jennifer Moss

The prerequisite is CRWR 213. Please contact the Creative Writing Undergraduate Advisor for questions related to this course.

Podcasting is a diverse art form that is both intimate and public. It has transformed the audio landscape, infiltrating broadcasting, and bringing audio storytelling to a new level of popularity and influence. This course will survey leading podcasts and analyze their success, explore the differences between podcasting and broadcasting, and look at the role of podcasting in participatory culture. At the same time, students will engage in active group work to gain the practical writing skills to conceive, develop, and produce an effective podcast. In addition, through close collaboration with CITR, the university campus radio station, students will get training on sound editing equipment and get the chance to try their hand at actual podcast production.


CRWR 303A-001 (term 2) – Intermediate Writing for Children and Young Adults (3 credits)
Alison Acheson

In this “flipped classroom,” I will provide on-line lectures and opportunities for discussion each week, further developing the material covered in CRWR 203. Each of these lectures will end with a writing exercise or discussion questions that will be discussed in that week’s seminar. Topics will include the main genres (contemporary realistic fiction, historical fiction and fantasy), techniques for writing effectively for young children, older children and teens, and structure in juvenile and YA novels. These lectures will be supported by readings and by links to interviews and other materials. In seminars—led primarily by TAs—students will complete and workshop writing exercises and will also workshop their assignments: a detailed outline and two short sections of a novel for children and teens. Students will read and respond to one another’s work in a formal workshop environment.


CRWR 305A-001 (term 2) Intermediate Writing of Creative Nonfiction (3 credits)
Kevin Chong

In this “flipped classroom,” I will provide online lectures on the various forms of Creative Non-Fiction that are based on assigned readings. Teaching Assistants and I will lead seminar groups in which lectures and readings will be discussed, but most importantly introduce the workshop format to the class. Short, in-class writing assignments and the first drafts of two longer, grade-able assignments will be shared and discussed with your peers. Your grade will be based on your participation as well as your written work.

My expectation with 305A is that students will leave the class as better writers and editors not only from online and in-class interactions with myself and their TA but from their workshop experiences with other students.


CRWR 306A-001 (term 2) – Intermediate Writing for the Screen
Martin Kinch

This course combines on-line lectures and in-class workshop/seminars. Our primary objective is to explore the processes, craft, and techniques of screenwriting and create an original work for the screen. On line, students will find a variety of video interviews with professional screenwriters addressing specific writing challenges, (What makes a great film idea?” “How Do you create memorable characters?”) short lectures on aspects of technique and inspiring film clips from the history of the movies and other resources addressing theoretical and practical aspects of screenwriting. There will be readings, writing exercises, and assigned viewings of films available on YouTube and Netflix.

The workshop/seminar session is focused on the creation of student work and will include the discussion of on-line material and focused writing assignments. Students will read and critique each other’s work and participate in workshop script development.


CRWR 307A-001 (term 1) – Intermediate Writing for the Stage & Radio (3 credits)
Bryan Wade

An exploration of practice in the writing of the one-act stage play and short radio drama, focusing on how a writer employs the technical elements of the craft of these dramatic genres.


CRWR 308A-001 (term 1) – Intermediate Writing for Graphic Forms (3 credits)
Taylor Brown-Evans

Course description to come.


CRWR 308A-002 (term 2) – Intermediate Writing for Graphic Forms (3 credits)
Sarah Leavitt

Building on the basic elements learned in 208, students will refine their knowledge and practice of cartooning, moving forward in developing their own style and voice. This course will include readings, discussions and a series of writing and drawing exercises and assignments. Topics will include character design, world building, panel composition, page layout, and process from script to final inks.


CRWR 309A-001 (term 1) – Intermediate Writing Fiction (3 credits)
John Vigna

The goal of this 3-credit companion course to CRWR 209 is to encourage students to generate new creative work each week and to apply, through practice, the craft-based skills learned in CRWR 209. The course is offered as a “flipped classroom”: weekly video and text lectures by a supervising instructor will be posted online, and the practical work of the course and assessment will be overseen by the instructor and TA Seminar Leaders during weekly in-person seminars. Students will gain insight into the effectiveness of their writing through peer feedback and workshopping. You will be encouraged to read each other’s work with an eye for craft and identify successful prose phrasing, character development and story structure.


CRWR 310-001 (term 1) – Video Game Writing and Narrative (3 credits)
Daniel Dick

This course will provide an introduction to the field of video game writing and narrative design. Video game narratives have grown increasingly sophisticated over the past three decades. Today, these narratives often surpass Hollywood films in scope and complexity. As a result, crafting an immersive and memorable interactive narrative requires both technical and artistic elements to succeed. Through a combination of lectures and readings on craft, in-class discussions, online talks by industry leaders, and targeted writing assignments, students will gain a better understanding of interactive storytelling and its unique challenges. They will also improve the creative and technical aspects of their writing, enhance critical thinking skills, and gain firsthand experience with the most prevalent forms of video game writing in use today. For anyone interested in this relatively new medium, the course promises to be a fun, eye-opening, and hands-on exploration. No previous game writing experience is necessary.


CRWR 311A-001 (term 1) / 311A-002 (term 2) – Intermediate Writing for Lyric Forms (3 credits)
Tariq Hussain

What’s the secret to writing a hit song and making a million dollars? Take this course and find out! Well, not exactly. But this course will introduce you to a variety of techniques to help you strengthen your songwriting craft. Whether you’re a novice songwriter or someone with a few tunes under your belt, this course will help you hone your skills through discussion, analysis of popular song texts, and personal practice. We will explore topics such as repetition, point of view, rhyming techniques and other poetic devices, strategies for writing effective verses, choruses, bridges, and more. You will have a chance to test your muse through in-class writing exercises and you’ll be able to learn from your peers through sharing and discussing your work and giving and receiving feedback. Playing an instrument is not a prerequisite for this class, though having a sense of musicality and a passion for songs will go a long way. In addition to submitting lyric sheets for workshopping, students will be expected to submit audio recordings for peer evaluation and grading.


CRWR 351I 001 (term 1) – Intermediate Poetry (3 credits)
Sheryda Warrener

Attentive, dedicated readers make for attentive, dedicated writers. Learning how to give detailed, constructive criticism immediately benefits one’s own writing practice. This course is designed to provide students a space to share, read, and respond to new work. As an introduction to the workshop model, here’s an opportunity for those interested in furthering their commitment to writing poems, defining one’s voice, making informed, exciting leaps in writing, and working toward a stellar portfolio. Highly recommended for those students planning on applying to the Creative Writing major. Prerequisite: CRWR 301. This course is open to all students with the CRWR 301 prereq EXCEPT CRWR Majors.


CRWR 353I 001 (term 1) – Intermediate Writing for Children and Young Adults (3 credits)
Maggie de Vries

Workshopping is the cornerstone of UBC’s creative writing programs and a profoundly effective part of a writer’s life.  Supported by direct instruction, assigned reading and focused writing exercises, you will have the freedom to work on the projects of your choice within the realms of children’s and teen fiction. You will receive feedback from your peers and from me on three pieces of writing, as well as providing weekly feedback to your peers, developing your writing and workshopping skills alongside one another. For your final assignment, you will also complete a revision of one of your three pieces along with a reflection on your revision process.

This intermediate seminar in writing for children and young adults is open to all students with the CRWR 303 prereq EXCEPT CRWR Majors.


CRWR 356I 001 (term 1) – Intermediate Screenwriting (3 credits)
Martin Kinch

This intermediate seminar in screenwriting is open to all students with the CRWR 306 prerequisite EXCEPT CRWR Majors.


CRWR 359I 001 (term 1) / 359J 002 (term 2) – Intermediate Fiction (3 credits)
Timothy Taylor

This workshop-based course in writing fiction will help bring greater intention to your writing process and guide you towards consciousness in decision-making. Emphasis will be placed on story structure, the character journey, the power of language construction and the weight and value of individual words. You will gain insight into the effectiveness of your writing through peer feedback and workshopping. You will also learn to read with a discerning eye for craft. For your final portfolio, you will have the opportunity to revise any or all of your story submissions in consultation with the instructor. This course is open to all students with the CRWR 309 prerequisite EXCEPT CRWR Majors.


CRWR 401I-001 (term 1) – Writing Poetry 1 (3 credits)
TBA

Students will explore aspects of technique and the process of writing and revising poetry through weekly workshopping, as well as by participating in instructor-steered and peer-steered discussion. Throughout the course, students will work towards preparing a final portfolio of well-crafted poetry.


CRWR 401I-002 (term 1) – Writing Poetry 1 (3 credits)
Ian Williams

In this course, you will pursue your unique poetic inclinations through a series of focused workshops, exercises, readings, guests, and projects.  I envision the traditional workshop as a time to think publicly about the work of others. It may occur in-person, online, and through individual consultations with me. In addition to workshopping, this course will take seriously the task of increasing key emotional and perceptive capacities that are necessary for poets. Our relationship to poetry is reciprocal: if we attend carefully to our craft and community, our poems will reward us with feeling, insight, and sincerity. To get here, various disruptions of our intellectual and aesthetic patterns are necessary. These may be uncomfortable. There will be demanding periods of intensive or spontaneous poetic production, all of which culminate in your final project, a chapbook of poems.


CRWR 401J-003 (term 2) – Writing Poetry 1 (3 credits)
Sheryda Warrener

The central aim of this course is to encourage students to take aesthetic leaps when making poems. The workshop model balances reading, writing, editing and revision in equal measure. By contemplating what skills of compression, rhythm, diction, sound, voice, style, and form are at play in the work of others, one can be better attuned to applying these craft elements in new work generated here. Success in this course also relies on meaningful, respectful conversation with peers, and with the work of contemporary poets publishing today. The goal – beyond establishing community – is to learn from this ongoing conversation how the speaker of each poem is shaped into a singular, clear, compelling and memorable voice.


CRWR 402J-001 (term 2) – Advanced Writing for New Media: Podcasting
Bryan Wade

Writers in this mixed graduate/undergraduate workshop who are undertaking this course as an introduction to podcasting will learn about formatting, dialogue, character development, plot and the importance of sound effects and music for this genre. They will be expected to complete several short assignments and for the final project to develop and complete two ten to fifteen minute scripts or produce a short ten minute feature or dramatic piece.

Writers will also be expected to research and provide feedback to the class about recent audio podcast series or shows such as: Chatterbox Audio TheaterSerialThe Kitchen SistersThe Truth (Radiotopia)Welcome to Night Vale and We’re Alive.

Regular attendance and participation in the workshop are essential for it to succeed.


CRWR 403I-001 (term 1) Writing for Children and Young Adults 1  (3 credits)
Emily Pohl-Weary

This is a constructive and respectful workshop course in writing middle-grade and young adult fiction (children’s books, poetry, and non-fiction will also be mentioned). We will share advanced writing and editing techniques that help you develop a unique voice and a sense of how to engage young readers. There will be some additional reading materials and brief discussions at the beginning of class. Over the course of the term, you will submit two pieces of writing for in-class feedback, and will substantially revise one of those for submission at the end of term. Your final portfolio will also include a reflection and a short piece of writing in a sub-genre that is entirely new to you (i.e. if you normally write YA fantasy, you might try your hand at a few children’s poems or even the words for a picture book).

CRWR 403J-002 (term 2) Writing for Children and Young Adults 1  (3 credits)
Alison Acheson

This is a workshop class in writing for young people. The format will be that of a multi-genre workshop, with student manuscripts as primary texts as well as some assigned reading. Attendance, written feedback on peers’ works, and lively discussion will be expected. A final grade will be based on a portfolio and participation. Genres/age-groupings covered will include picturebooks, early readers, middle-grade novels, YA novels. Other forms—such as nonfiction for young people, graphic works, animation, poetry—will be included as requested by the writers in the group.


CRWR 403J-003 (term 2) Writing for Children and Young Adults 1  (3 credits)
Maggie de Vries

This is a workshop class in writing for young people. You will have the opportunity to submit two pieces of writing for children or teens and to revise one of those pieces for submission at the end of term, along with a reflection on your work and learning. Your final grade will be based on your own writing, your two submissions and your revision, your written responses to your peers’ work, your participation in all in-class activities and your reflection. We will discuss picture books, early readers, middle-grade novels, YA novels and other forms, and I will provide some direct instruction as the need arises and post supporting material on the main forms and genres. We will also hold three in-class discussions on craft, rooted in readings which will be provided.

I will facilitate the workshops for the first half of the term, turning that role over to you for the second round of workshops, and I will provide guidance in giving written and verbal feedback that is constructive and respectful. You will grow as a writer for young people and you will develop your workshop skills in this course.


CRWR 405I-001 (term 1) & 405J 002 (term 2) – Writing Creative Nonfiction 1 (3 credits)
Kevin Chong

In this workshop, we will be looking at various sub-genres of CNF, including memoir, lyric essay, literary journalism, and personal essay through a selected reading list. Students will be expected to submit one shorter piece of autobiographical writing (1200-1600 words) with the “Modern Love” or “Facts and Arguments” columns as models and one longer personal or lyric essay (2000-3000 words). Both pieces must have a beginning, middle, and end. Additionally, one rewrite is expected in the term.


CRWR 406I-001 & 406I 002 (term 1) – Screenwriting 1 (3 credits)
Maureen Medved

This advanced workshop takes students from pitch to second draft.  This workshop will equip you with the skills to craft story for screen. Throughout this workshop, students will learn how to pitch a script, write a treatment and create first and second drafts of a screenplay. This workshop will explore character development, scene work, plot, story, visual language, dialogue, and more. Produced screenplays and films will be our texts, and we will examine and discuss some of these.  During this workshop, I will expect you to complete a minimum of 25 pages. I will expect you to write a treatment and two short screenplays or, depending on your experience and interest, you may write part of a feature-length screenplay.  While the emphasis is on your own writing, regular attendance and spirited participation are essential. I assign grades based on (80%) your written work and (20%) your attendance, active participation, and the quality of the criticism you give to the work of your colleagues. If you miss two classes in a row, you will need to contact me to explain your situation. If you miss three classes, you will fail the course. Two late classes will equal one missed class. Because participation is a crucial component of the workshop, you will give critical and tactfully honest feedback to the other participants about their writing. This will give you the skills necessary to create and enhance your own writing long after you have completed this workshop.


CRWR 406J-003 – Screenwriting (3 credits)
Maureen Medved

This advanced workshop takes students from pitch to second draft.  This workshop will equip you with the skills to craft story for screen. Throughout this workshop, students will learn how to pitch a script, write a treatment and create first and second drafts of a screenplay. This workshop will explore character development, scene work, plot, story, visual language, dialogue, and more. Produced screenplays and films will be our texts, and we will examine and discuss some of these.  During this workshop, I will expect you to complete a minimum of 25 pages. I will expect you to write a treatment and two short screenplays or, depending on your experience and interest, you may write part of a feature-length screenplay.  While the emphasis is on your own writing, regular attendance and spirited participation are essential. I assign grades based on (80%) your written work and (20%) your attendance, active participation, and the quality of the criticism you give to the work of your colleagues. If you miss two classes in a row, you will need to contact me to explain your situation. If you miss three classes, you will fail the course. Two late classes will equal one missed class. Because participation is a crucial component of the workshop, you will give critical and tactfully honest feedback to the other participants about their writing. This will give you the skills necessary to create and enhance your own writing long after you have completed this workshop.


CRWR 407K-001: Writing of Drama for the Stage (6 credits)
Sara Graefe

This is a workshop course in playwriting. Through a series of exercises, writing workshops, and participation in the annual Brave New Play Rites Festival, students will develop and refine dramatic writing skills for the stage. We will explore structuring the dramatic story, crafting dramatic scenes, the differences between showing and telling, how to develop and reveal conflict in characters, and how to create snappy, memorable dialogue. In the weekly class workshops, student-written scripts (or excerpts) are read aloud, and constructive feedback and exchange of ideas are encouraged.

Although this is first and foremost a creative writing class, we will also approach the art and craft of playwriting within the broader context of contemporary theatre practice. As part of the course, students are required to submit a short play (ten to fifteen minutes) for the Brave New Play Rites festival. The course culminates with each student writing and workshopping a short, ideally self-produceable one-act play (approximately twenty-five to thirty pages), building on craft and skills developed during prior assignments and the Brave New Play Rites experience.


CRWR 408I-001 (term 1) 408J-002 (term 2): Writing for Graphic Forms (3 credits)
Sarah Leavitt

This course is a combined undergraduate and graduate course, designed to give students a strong foundation in comics creation. Because it is a small workshop class, assignments can be modified as needed for students who are already familiar with comics theory and craft. Through readings, lectures, class discussion and workshops, students will:

  • Acquire an understanding of the elements of comics ­ writing, drawing, composition, etc and how they work together;
  • Learn about the history and present practice of comics, and be exposed to a wide range of comics by diverse cartoonists;
  • Become familiar with key theoretical approaches to the form and acquire tools to analyze their own and others’ work;
  • Write and draw their own short comics.

Students who have taken the course previously or who are already experienced at creating comics will have the opportunity to further hone their skills and work on ongoing longer projects during the class. Students who are new to comics can find it intimidating, particularly if they don’t think of themselves as “good artists.” In comics class, we build a respectful atmosphere in which students can both support and challenge each other, with thoughtful analysis and honest feedback on the part of readers, and openness and determined effort on the part of the writer/cartoonist.

You do have to draw your own comics for this class. BUT I’m not concerned with whether you can or “can’t” draw, and it doesn’t matter how much experience you have as a cartoonist. The focus for this class is building coherent, compelling narratives with comics and the goal is to push yourself to improve your own work, in your own style, starting where you are right now.


CRWR 409I-001 (term 1) – Writing Fiction 1
Théodora Armstrong

This is a workshop in the writing of fiction designed to help students develop as both writers and critical thinkers. Each week we will discuss students’ written work as well as the craft and techniques of fiction. There is no required text for this course, other than the students’ own writing, however, there may be some hand out material that will be required reading for class discussion. During the term, students will be expected to turn in several short stories for workshop and encouraged to vary length, experimenting with forms such as flash fiction. Over the duration of the course, we will examine a wide range of story elements, including—but not limited to—plotting, point of view, writing dialogue, image patterning, and character desire in fiction. The course will also guide students through the process of revising their short stories and presenting their work to a wider audience. Overall, this workshop aims to give students the opportunity to express themselves creatively, hone their voice, and gain a deeper understanding of their own work.


CRWR 409I-002 (term 1) – Writing Fiction 1 (3 credits)
Amber Dawn

This 3-credit course invites students to deepen their critically thinking about fiction, while submitting to and participating in the workshop.

A range of genres will be explored through required readings, in-class lectures and discussions. The instructor will distribute required readings as handouts throughout the course.

All genres are welcome in the workshop (speculative, literary, experimental, popular, etc.). Students are encouraged to submit complete short stories—with identifiable beginnings, middles and endings—or episodic-style novel chapters; however longer projects may be permitted with permission from the instructor. Approximately 25 – 50 pages are required throughout the course; this includes a final revision assignment. Peer-to-peer mentorship and participation is critical to success. Students are expected to offer constructive responses that foster an environment of respect, rigor and thoughtfulness.


CRWR 409I-003  (term 1) – Writing Fiction (3 credits)
Kevin Chong

In this workshop, we’re going to talk and read fiction. I want students thinking about which details make characters and situations come alive, and which narrative turns and reversals make a story feel complete. Students will be required to write one complete shorter piece (1200-1600 words), with the CBC story prize as a model, and either a complete longer story or an excerpt from a novel (2000-3000 words). Additionally, one rewrite is expected in the term.


CRWR 409J-004 (term 2) – Writing Fiction (3 credits)
Annabel Lyon

This is a workshop in the writing of fiction designed to help students develop as both writers and critical thinkers. Each week we will discuss students’ written work as well as the craft and techniques of fiction. There is no required text for this course other than the students’ own writing, however, there may be some hand out material that will be required reading for class discussion. During the term, students will be expected to turn in several short stories for workshop and encouraged to vary length, experimenting with forms such as flash fiction. Over the duration of the course, we will examine a wide range of story elements, including—but not limited to—plotting, point of view, writing dialogue, image patterning, and character desire in fiction. The course will also guide students through the process of revising their short stories and presenting their work to a wider audience. Overall, this workshop aims to give students the opportunity to express themselves creatively, hone their voice, and gain a deeper understanding of their own work.


CRWR 409J-005 (term 2) – Writing Fiction (3 credits)
John Vigna

This 3-credit workshop in writing fiction will help bring greater intention to your writing process and guide you toward consciousness in decision-making. Class will consist of short craft lectures, careful reading and discussion of student work and various assigned readings. Emphasis will be placed on story structure, the character journey, point of view, the power of language construction and the weight and value of individual words. You will gain insight into the effectiveness of your writing through peer feedback and commentary. You will also learn to read with a discerning eye for craft. Other areas of interest include preparation of manuscripts, organizing drafts, establishing a writing and reading practice, generation of ideas, etc. This is a writing, reading and discussion intensive course.


CRWR 409J-006 (term 2) – Writing Fiction (3 credits)
Keith Maillard

This is a workshop in the writing of fiction designed to help students develop as both writers and critical thinkers. Each week we will discuss students’ written work as well as the craft and techniques of fiction. There is no required text for this course other than the students’ own writing, however, there may be some hand out material that will be required reading for class discussion. During the term, students will be expected to turn in several short stories for workshop and encouraged to vary length, experimenting with forms such as flash fiction. Over the duration of the course, we will examine a wide range of story elements, including—but not limited to—plotting, point of view, writing dialogue, image patterning, and character desire in fiction. The course will also guide students through the process of revising their short stories and presenting their work to a wider audience. Overall, this workshop aims to give students the opportunity to express themselves creatively, hone their voice, and gain a deeper understanding of their own work.


CRWR 411I-001 (term 1)  Advanced Writing for Lyric Forms (3 credits)
Tariq Hussain

This class will focus on the craft of songwriting through a process of critical analysis in a workshop setting. Students will be required to share songs with the group and provide/receive constructive feedback as well as actively participate in discussions on topics ranging from song structure, lyrical content, point of view, etc. Students will learn strategies for revising material with the goal of creating more effective pieces with the power to connect. Students will also be challenged to look deeply at their own work, to find ways to break out of their comfort zones and take risks in terms of style and content, while still staying true to their artistic vision. Playing an instrument is not a prerequisite for this class, though a sense of musicality and a passion for songs will go a long way. In addition to submitting lyric sheets for workshopping, students will be expected to submit audio recordings for peer evaluation and grading.


CRWR 411J-002 (term 2)  Advanced Writing for Lyric Forms (3 credits)
Tariq Hussain

This course focuses on both the craft of songwriting as well as the art of collaboration and consists of students from both the Creative Writing program as well as the Music programs. Students will be paired with cross-disciplinary collaborating partners as they broaden their skills in the craft and composition of songs. Through creation and workshopping, students will have an opportunity to gain new insights and draw from each other’s knowledge and perspectives. Analysis and discussion is key and students should expect to actively engage and participate in discussions on structure, point of view, character, tone, and song prosody. Students efforts will culminate in the production and presentation of a five to ten minute interdisciplinary work inspired by the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, to be performed live at the end of the term. Playing an instrument is not a prerequisite for this class, though a sense of musicality and a passion for songs will go a long way. In addition to submitting lyric sheets for workshopping, students will be expected to submit audio recordings for peer evaluation and grading.


CRWR 416I-001 (term 1) & 416J-002 (term 2) – Writing for Television (3 credits)
Martin Kinch

Transparent, Enlightened, Vice, The Office:  the parade of diverse and exceptional half-hour series produced during Peak TV is inspirational.  In this workshop focused upon half-hour series, writers will create a concept, outline/beat sheet, and first draft of an original pilot.  Be prepared to work in mini writers’ rooms, from time to time, to experience the collaborative process, to watch TV and keep a journal, and to read several professional scripts.


CRWR 430-001 (term 1) – Preparation for a Career in Writing (3 credits)
Kevin Chong

In this undergrad/grad class, we will learn about the realities of furthering and maintaining a writing practice. Lectures will be interspersed with guest speakers–writers who have taken different paths on their careers, and have found different ways to make a living. We will be looking at the nitty gritty of the writing life, including book proposals, grant applications, agent queries. But we will also discuss more intangible ingredients of a writing career, like using social media and informal networking, and coping strategies for balancing financial necessity with your writing needs. Assignments include writing a career plan and proposal and conducting an interview with an established writer for Nineteen Questions (nineteenquestions.com).


CRWR 440I-001 (term 1) / 440J-003 (term 2) – Interdisciplinary Projects: Webseries (3 credits)
Martin Kinch

Twenty years there was hardly such a thing as a web series. Now, they line up for viewing on a wide variety of internet platforms. They are accessible on phones, tablets, computers and televisions.  International “webfests” award prizes in widely viewed award shows.

Creating a web series is possible for anyone with access to a smart phone. They are cheap to produce and easily accessible. Outside the corporate constraints of conventional TV production, the possibilities for the web series are virtually endless. They allow for experiment and they employ the techniques of film and television storytelling. And they make it possible for writer producers to reach potentially global audiences. They are challenging in themselves and can provide a step up into the larger formats.

In this hands-on course, students will review the techniques of episodic storytelling, use smart phones to experiment with simple webisode production and complete a bible, a pilot and a plan for six episodes of their chosen comedy, drama or experimental web series. Throughout the term, we will view and analyze a variety of web series. The course will also include discussion of production, marketing and distribution.


CRWR 440J-002 (term 2) – Interdisciplinary Projects: Hybrid Forms (3 credits)
Sheryda Warrener

This workshop aims to inspire writing that is formally ambitious and not defined primarily by genre. Through close reading practice, we will focus on poetic elements such as syntax, rhythm, repetition, fragment, line and associative logic and consider how these techniques are applied to the prose poem, list essay, long poem/poem sequence, collage, lyrical essay, index, poem review, catalogue, travelogue, one-minute lecture, epistolary and ekphrastic forms.

In addition to regular weekly workshops, we will use in-class experiments to push the boundaries of our own writing, illuminating the elasticity and expansiveness of what space and shape a piece of writing might take. Contemporary practitioners of hybrid forms include Anne Carson, Lyn Hejinian, Matthea Harvey, Lisa Robertson, Claudia Rankine, Harryette Mullen, Mary Ruefle, Joe Brainard, Russel Edson, Lee Ann Roripaugh, Eula Biss, Thalia Field, Diane Williams, Heidi Julavits, Sarah Ruhl and more.

Course requirements include thoughtful and committed class participation, writing experiments, and a final portfolio.


CRWR 455J-001 (term 2) – Writing Creative Nonfiction II (3 credits)
Deborah Campbell

In this advanced creative nonfiction course—the next level after CRWR 405—the skills and techniques of turning fact into compelling nonfiction stories for publication will be advanced through readings, assignments, lectures and class discussions. Students will complete assignments ranging from 1000 to 3000 words that develop towards an interview-based research feature. Techniques and approaches will be discussed along the way and readings will be drawn from the best examples of the craft, nationally and internationally. Students will develop their own pieces through the workshop process with emphasis on the importance of revision. We will also discuss pitching to magazines and working with editors. This course is for students who want to publish their work and envision a professional writing career.


CRWR 457K 001 (two terms) – Writing of Drama for the Stage II (6 credits)
Bryan Wade

Writers in this mixed undergraduate/graduate workshop are welcome to write one-act plays or develop the first draft of an original full-length stage play.

We will work on story, plot, dialogue, character development, theme and many other elements involved in the stage play form. In the workshop, productive feedback and the exchange of ideas are encouraged. Stage plays (or excerpts) are read out loud, allowing enough time for discussion.

As part of the course, writers are required to submit a short play (ten to fifteen minutes long) for the Brave New Play Rites festival. Now in its 31st year, Brave New Play Rites showcases new student plays in a series of staged readings and full productions. The festival is held annually in March in a theatre venue off-campus. Please note that only ten plays are given live productions; there is an adjudication process in November of the fall term.

It is strongly recommended that students take CRWR 407 (or its equivalent in terms production credits) before registering for CRWR 457.