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 ossinor 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 2016/17 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 as CRWR 200-005


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

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

This course is designed for students looking to develop their writing skills in a variety of genres. Through a combination of lectures, in-class writing exercises, guest speakers, and take-home writing assignments, students will explore a variety of concepts designed to elevate their creative craft. Topics include story arc and structure, character development, image building, working with dialogue and point of view. Main genres to be explored are fiction, creative nonfiction (including memoir, personal essay, profile) and poetry. Students will also get a taste for screenwriting, songwriting, writing for graphic novel, and a selection of other genres. There will be ample opportunity to put knowledge to the test and to receive constructive feedback on written work. A powerful introduction on the way to fulfilling one’s writing goals.


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) 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) / 201-002 (term 2) 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 203-001 (term 2) – Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults (3 credits)
Alison Acheson

This is an introductory course to the world of creating stories for children. Students will become knowledgeable of the age-groupings and genres, from picturebooks and early readers, to novels for young adults, and “family” to “fantasy” and beyond for middle-grade readers.

Elements of fiction—character, structure, point-of-view, voice, tense, settings of time and place, dialogue—will be explored, as well as the possibilities and effects in all the choices each offers. Humour and visuals and language that evokes and sparkles are also necessary elements in writing for young people.

There will be quizzes as well as in-class exercises and at-home writing assignments. The course is lecture-based, but interaction will be expected, including lively discussions and spontaneous acts of creativity! Bring and grow questions, and expect to play hard.


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, students will learn 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 explore 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 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.

Students will be assessed through three written assignments, two quizzes, in-class writing exercises and workshop feedback to peers.


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) / 206-003 (term 2) – Introduction to Writing for the Screen
Martin Kinch

This course offers the student an overview of the craft of screenwriting, concentrating on visual storytelling and classical screenplay structure within a context that considers both the craft of screenwriting and the demands of the film industry. Throughout this course, the student will explore basics of visual storytelling, film structure, formatting, character, dialogue, and pitching. The student will also be introduced to television practice, the documentary, and working within the current Canadian film scene.

Students will engage in storyboarding, adaptation, writing exercises and assignments culminating in the first draft of an original screenplay. They will screen and discuss a variety of films (complete and excerpted) and explore current practice with guest professionals from within the film and television industries. Visitors have included Kris Elgstrand (writer and director), Karen Lee (documentarian), Terry Miles (writer and director), Dylan Akio Smith (director), Ian Weir (writer and producere), David Hauka (writer, director and producer), Jose Teodoro (critic) and Nettie Wild (documentarian).


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.

Note: this course may be also taken online-only in term 2 as CRWR 209-003


CRWR 209-003 (term 2) – Introduction to Writing Fiction (3 credits)
John Vigna

Note: This course is taken online. Videos of lectures will be made available on Connect shortly after each in-class lecture concludes. Quizzes and assignments will be offered through Connect.

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 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) – Introduction to Writing for the New Media (3 credits)
Jackie Wong

Your Snapchats #slay, your subreddits are must-reads, and you’re gaining more followers across your socials by the minute. But does “going viral” mean we’re truly winning? What might we stand to lose when we measure each other on those terms? What are the political implications and cultural ramifications of an increasingly influential Silicon Valley? Amidst a digital scrapheap of quick hits, clickbait, and re-postable pastiche, how do we cultivate a thoughtful, meaningful creative writing practice of our own?

Whether you describe yourself as part-cyborg or your knowledge of the digital world begins and ends with the grunt of a dial-up modem, Creative Writing 213 is a hospitable haven to explore the potential and limitations of the new media landscape. It’s a digital Wild West that we all have a hand in creating, destroying, and re-building. 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 consists of active discussion, in-class creative work, lecture, and writing across genres. Creative Writing 213 equips you with the critical framework and writing chops to engage productively with the new media landscape, contribute meaningfully to its many subjects of debate, and activate the multidisciplinary potential it holds for writers.

The class will consider how writing and reading is changing alongside an evolving transmedia landscape, and how new norms of audience engagement are impacting how narrative is produced and received. 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 closest to your heart.

Note: this course may be also taken online-only in term 1 as 213-004


CRWR 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. Through multi-media lectures, discussions, guest speakers from various new media niches, in-class creative work, and writing assignments across genres, Creative Writing 213 equips you with the critical framework and writing skills to engage meaningfully and productively with media’s ever-evolving faces. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, podcasting, blogging, trans-media, collaborative, and interactive storytelling are all on menu. 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. 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 213-004 (term 1) – Introduction to Writing for the New Media (3 credits)
Jackie Wong

Note: This course is taken online. Videos of lectures will be made available on Connect shortly after each in-class lecture concludes. Quizzes and assignments will be offered through Connect.

The new media landscape can feel like something of a Wild West. We’re continuing to define, rethink, and reimagine the new frontier. In this era of participatory culture, hyper-connectivity, Big Data, and a digital surveillance culture that is both self-fulfilling and mutually reinforcing, it’s easy to feel lost. Amidst the noise, however, there’s rich potential for artistic collaboration, creative boundary pushing, building community capacity, and deep connection.

Through a mix of discussion, in-class creative work, lecture, and writing, Creative Writing 213 equips you with the knowledge and practical tools to engage critically with the new media landscape, its related social impacts and tensions, and the artistic potential it holds for writers. You’ll also become acquainted with strategies for writing functionally, clearly, and creatively for public audiences. A major learning objective for this course is to develop a greater understanding of narrative and style, linearity and non-linearity and the way they function in various new forms and genres.

By the end of this course, you’ll gain a more nuanced understanding of contemporary new media and your roles in shaping its future as both writers and digital citizens.


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 303A-001 (term 2) – Intermediate Writing for Children and Young Adults (3 credits)
Maggie de Vries

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 and occasionally appear in class as a guest speaker. Teaching Assistants 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 and at-home writing assignments and the first drafts of two longer, grade-able assignments. 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)
Martin Kinch

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 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 311A-001 (term 1) – 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. This course may or may not help you figure out how to write a hit, but it will introduce you to a variety of techniques to help you strengthen your songwriting craft. Whether you’re a budding songwriter or someone with a few tunes under your belt already, this course will help you hone your skills through discussion, close analysis of popular song texts, and personal practice. In this course we will explore topics such as how to use repetition in songs effectively; how to manipulate point of view; rhyming techniques and other poetic devices; strategies for writing effective verses, choruses, bridges, and more. You will also have a chance to put your muse to the test with a variety of challenging in-class writing exercises and you’ll be able to learn from your peers through sharing your work and giving and receiving feedback. You will also have a chance to get inspired by local and touring songwriters who will visit the class to share their knowledge and insights. Recent guests include Shad, Yukon Blonde, and John K Samson of the Weakerthans. Proficiency on a musical instrument is not a prerequisite, but knowledge of basic concepts such as rhythm, melody and a general awareness of popular song structure is ideal. Attendance and participation in discussions is strongly encouraged and makes for a lively, fun and inspiring class. Hope to see you there.


CRWR 351C 001 (term 2) – 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 353C 001 (term 2) – Intermediate Writing for Children and Young Adults (3 credits)
Maggie de Vries

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


CRWR 356C 001 (term 2) – 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 359C 001 (term 1) / 359D 002 (term 2) – Intermediate Fiction (3 credits)
John Vigna

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 401Y-001 (term 1) – 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 401Y-002 (term 1) – Writing Poetry 1 (3 credits)
Keith Maillard

During this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to discuss and critique students’ poetry in order to provide feedback for revision. Revision is the basis of the workshop discussion and the goal of the course. Students will work towards preparing a final manuscript of approximately 10 pages of revised, polished poetry.

The workshop will explore aspects of technique such as intentionality, the symbol, and narrative as well as various structures for the poem. The creative process and approaches to revision will also be discussed.

Students taking the workshop commit themselves to a respectful response towards their classmates and their work. Student critiques are expected to be thoughtful, evaluative comments which will help workshop colleagues revise as well as help sharpen students’ own self-criticism skills


CRWR 401Z-003 (term 2) – 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 401Z-004 (term 2) – 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 approximately 10 pages of well-crafted poetry.


CRWR 402Y-001 (term 1) – 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 403Y-001 (term 1) Writing for Children and Young Adults 1  (3 credits)
Susin Nielsen

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Ever since children and grown-ups alike read this opening line of the first Harry Potter book, there has been renewed interest in the world of children’s, middle grade and YA fiction, with more books becoming crossover hits that appeal to the adult market as well. This workshop is ideal for those with a passion for, and/or a curiosity about the genre. Of course, a lot of genres exist within the term “children’s and YA” – students will be free to workshop anything from “real world” to dystopian to historical; the only difference being their target audience. Each student will be expected to workshop two pieces. Over the course of the term we’ll discuss how to make stories clear but never simplistic; how to grab your reader; how to have a moral core without moralizing; how to build a strong narrative; and how to work on finding a unique voice.


CRWR 403Z-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 403Z-003 (term 2) Writing for Children and Young Adults 1  (3 credits)
Susin Nielsen

“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.” Ever since children and grown-ups alike read this opening line of the first Harry Potter book, there has been renewed interest in the world of children’s, middle grade and YA fiction, with more books becoming crossover hits that appeal to the adult market as well. This workshop is ideal for those with a passion for, and/or a curiosity about the genre. Of course, a lot of genres exist within the term “children’s and YA” – students will be free to workshop anything from “real world” to dystopian to historical; the only difference being their target audience. Each student will be expected to workshop two pieces. Over the course of the term we’ll discuss how to make stories clear but never simplistic; how to grab your reader; how to have a moral core without moralizing; how to build a strong narrative; and how to work on finding a unique voice.


CRWR 405Y-001 (term 1) & 405Z 002 (term 2) – Writing Creative Nonfiction 1 (3 credits)
Andreas Schroeder

Simply inventing a story (fiction) is easy; learning how to construct and write an effective story within the limitations of what really happened (nonfiction) is more complicated. For our first assignment, you’ll learn how to find the elements of a successful story in your own life, and how to use those elements to build that story most effectively. Then you’ll learn how to use that knowledge to discover and present someone else’s story – an interview-based profile, suitable for publication. Learning how to interview productively is an art in itself, and critical to anyone with aspirations to write professionally. Outstanding examples of profiles and autobiographical stories will be provided and discussed. Come to first class with a personal story already in mind.


CRWR 406Y-001 & 406Y 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 406Z-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 407F-001: Writing of Drama for the Stage (6 credits)
Sara Graefe

In this workshop, students will develop dramatic writing skills for the stage. Through a series of specific assignments, student playwrights will learn the differences between showing, not telling, how to develop and reveal conflict in characters, and how to create snappy, memorable, ear-grabbing dialogue. In the workshop, productive feedback and the exchange of ideas are encouraged. Assignments and student-written 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 to twelve plays are given full productions; there is an adjudication process in November of the fall term.

The course culminates with each student writing and workshopping a short one-act play, approximately twenty to twenty-five pages long, building on craft and skills developed during prior assignments and the Brave New Play Rites experience.


CRWR 408Y-001 (term 1) 408Z-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 408Z-003 (term 2): Writing for Graphic Forms (3 credits)
Taylor Brown-Evans

Whether coming from a background in cartooning or entirely new to the form, this course offers students an opportunity to explore the craft of graphic forms, to build those skills transferable to other forms, or to hone their own comics into refined, well-crafted graphic stories. Students will be guided step-by-step through the craft of both comic-making and storytelling. All artistic and narrative skill levels are welcome and while drawing is necessary, the ability to draw is not. As a small workshop group, this class has the flexibility to focus intently on each student’s individual work with the ultimate goal being to have students leave with three strong comic stories that they are ready to take out into the world.


CRWR 409Y-001 (term 1) 409Z-005 (term 2) – Writing Fiction 1
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 409Y-002 (term 1) – Writing Fiction 1 (3 credits)
Nancy Lee

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 409Z-003  (term 2) – Writing Fiction (3 credits)
Nancy Lee

This 3-credit course will focus on creating a viable novel outline in any genre. Through a combination of craft lectures, in-class exercises, small group feedback and homework, students will learn the fundamentals of character development, world-building, scene design, and the basics of story architecture as they work to conceptualize and explore their own novel projects. By the end of term, students will have completed a detailed novel outline and writing plan.

Students should arrive at the first session with, at the very least, an idea for a novel and a clear sense of their main character. Because in-class assignments and lectures are cumulative, absences will be particularly problematic.  Please do NOT sign up for this course if you know ahead of time you’ll be missing classes.

Students working in all genres (literary, fantasy, spec, thriller, etc.) are welcome. This class will emphasize a respectful, constructive, and collegial environment that reflects working standards in the publishing industry.


CRWR 409Z-004 (term 2) – Writing Fiction (3 credits)
Timothy Taylor

A 3 credit workshop in fiction for BFA students. Description to come.


CRWR 409Y-006 (term 1) – Writing Fiction (3 credits)
Theodora 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 411Y-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. In addition to sharing songs and providing helpful feedback to your peers, you will have the opportunity to actively participate in the discussions on advanced topics ranging from song structure, to scene setting, to working with point of view. Through readings, workshopping, short exercises and assignments, you will learn about strategies for revising material with the goal of creating more effective songs that have the power to connect with listeners. You will be challenged to look deeply at your own work and hopefully find ways to break out of your comfort zone and take risks in terms of style and content, while still staying true to your artistic vision. Playing an instrument is not a prerequisite for this class though having some sense of musicality and a passion for songs will go a long way. In addition to submitting lyric sheets for workshopping, you will be expected to submit an audio recording of your song—as simple an iPhone recording, even. You will also complete one revised song for the course.


CRWR 411Z-001 (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 in the creative process. The course will consist of students from both the Creative Writing program and Music programs and students will be paired with cross-disciplinary collaborating partners in order to broaden their skills in the craft and composition of songs. Through a process of creation, and workshopping over the term, students will have an opportunity to stretch their ideas and find ways to include new insights, drawing from each other’s wide-range of knowledge and perspectives. Analysis and discussion will fuel this class and students should expect to actively engage and participate in discussions on topics such as song structure, point of view, character, tone, theme, abstraction in lyrics, and prosody where the music serves the words and the words serve the music. Students efforts over the term will culminate in the production and presentation of a five-ten minute interdisciplinary work inspired by the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, to be performed at the end of the term.


CRWR 416Y-001 (term 1) & 416Z-002 (term 2) – Writing for Television (3 credits)
Linda Svendsen (term 1), Martin Kinch (term 2)

“Television is dead.”  (1999)
“We’re living in the Golden Age of Television.”  (2013-)

In this workshop, writers work individually to create, pitch and develop original episodic television series and, if desired, show scripts (spec/samples) for established television series.  In Term One, writers work in half-hour television drama format as well as shorter web series formats.  In Term Two, writers will work in one-hour television format.  Writers will work individually and consideration will be given to working collaboratively in a writers’ room model, if desired.  The course supports the writer in developing a dynamic understanding of structure, series architecture, genre, elements of scriptwriting and working in an industry context. In each term, writers create, pitch and develop scripts from concept to beat sheet, outline and draft.  Series elements are workshopped at every stage.

The workshop constitutes a powerful brainstorming support group to aid the writer in developing their craft along with a setting to learn and practice the skills required in the professional market.


CRWR 430-001 (term 2) – Preparation for a Career in Writing (3 credits)
Deborah Campbell

This mixed undergraduate/graduate course exposes the emerging writer to career opportunities in a wide variety of genres with emphasis on direct contact with successful working writers and publishing professionals. Issues such as book proposals, contracts, taxes, grants, author websites, agents and editors are also addressed. Students have a chance to meet with professionals working in today’s tough market and emerge from the course with a career plan and a professional proposal in the genre(s) of their choice. They also conduct an interview with an established writer for publication in the online magazine Nineteen Questions (nineteenquestions.com).


CRWR 440A-001 (term 1) – Podcasting (3 credits)
Jennifer Moss

Once this course has passed Senate approval, it will be CRWR 302: Writing for Podcast. 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 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.


CRWR 457A 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 to twelve plays are given full 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 457A.