Creative Writing

One-semester Course

open to 10, 11, 12
range of difficulty 1-4

1. Rationale

The exercise and education of the imagination is the foundation of this course. Creative writing is taught to provide opportunities for students to explore inner landscapes and imagined vistas articulated by published writers and to enhance the skill necessary for them to try to cultivate their own artistic voices.

2. Topics or Themes Emphasized

The course will focus on both fiction writing and poetry. Units on fiction writing will include interior monologue, narrative voice, and journal writing, as well as the fundamental aspects of a story including structure, characterization, setting, and theme. Poetry units will cover meter, tone, form, scansion, tempo, style.

3. Methods and Sample Assignments

• Inspiration in the form of art, music, photography; anything that stirs the imagination.
• Analysis of published works of poetry and fiction.
• The study of vocabulary, grammar and punctuation within context.
• Editing for both self-editing and peer revision.
• A variety of forms and critical skills.
• Workshop atmosphere in which writing is always considered in process.

Sample Assignments

Robert Creeley’s poem “The First Time” addresses issues related to time and memory. In the excerpt from Light in August, Faulkner writes, “Memory believes before knowing remembers.” Using your own experience, write ten images that use time, memory, or remembering as their source.

Each image should convey a specific, recognizable tone or texture.

Prepare two drafts (one paragraph for each) of a detailed description of an inanimate object. Use a different point of view in each. Accompany the drafts with process notes in which you explain which one you believe is more effective and why.

4. Expectations for Students

Weekly Reading: several poems, a short story, section of a novel.

Daily Writing: work to be kept in a journal, portfolio, or online folder. Much ungraded; some graded only after considerable editing and revision.

Listening and speaking: Students will be required to listen to each others’ works as well as share their own original writings.

Final: Students will be expected to provide a final assessment which my take the form of a portfolio or project.

5. Reading List and Other Materials

What If?, Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Stephen King
Short stories by:
Anton Chekhov
T.C. Boyle
Richard Russo
Ernest Hemingway
Graham Greene
William Faulkner
Christopher Nolan
Jennifer Egan
Joyce Carol Oates
Margaret Atwood
Haruki Murakami
Russell Banks
Kevin Barry
Shirley Jackson
Julio Cortazar
D.H. Lawrence
Katherine Mansfield
Timothy Hedges
Cynthia Ozick

Poets:
Langston Hughes
William Carlos Williams
Wilfred Owen
Emily Dickinson
W.B. Yeats
William Shakespeare
Seamus Heaney
Elizabeth Bishop
Theodore Roethke
Robert Frost
Stevie Smith
Joy Harjo
Billy Collins
Robert Pinsky
Eve Mariam
Paul Beatty
Dudley Randall
Jose Papaleto Melendez
Yusaf Komunyakaa
Sharon Olds
Walt Whitman
other readings selected by the teacher

6. Selected Bibliography

Burroway, Janet, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, 7th Edition
Goodman, Richard, The Soul of Creative Writing
Kiteley, Brian, The 3 A.M. Epiphany
Kiteley, Brian, The 4 A.M. Breakthrough
Smith, Hazel, The Writing Experiment: Strategies for Innovative Writing
Starkey, David, Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief


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