Courses for MA in Creative Writing

The Courses, Descriptions and Credits for MA in Creative Writing

CRWR 600  Summer Orientation  1 credit
Focus on learning mastery of online tools, attending faculty and student readings, and meeting with non-residency mentors during first summer; focus on attending presentations and participating in workshop sessions during second summer; and focus on presenting student thesis as well as attending and participating in other readings during third summer. Must be repeated three times for credit. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 601  Patterns and Paradigms for Popular Genre Writing  2 credits
Focus on student exploration of texts that set patterns for various forms of genre writing, and use those patterns as the basis for their own writing.   Reading includes contemporary texts, folktales and myths that establish the archetypal basis for narrative patterns in plot, setting and character development.  Also lays the groundwork for students to articulate and work efficiently within their own writing process, and for students to establish effective writing practices for long-term use. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 605  Writing Pedagogy Strategies  2 credits
An opportunity to develop lesson plans, sample lessons, and grading rubrics for a course in writing. Instruction includes strategies for creative writing classes as well as English composition courses, including a guided discussion on pedagogy theory and practice with daily questions on points of interest, suggested readings, and the opportunity for teaching writers to discuss challenges and insights for the practice of teaching. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 608 Craft and Practice I  6 credits
Focus on skill-building in fundamental areas of narrative fiction.  Students develop skills of observation and reflection in order to access material for their writing; strengthen research skills for their areas of interest; articulate their writing process and explore ways to make it more efficient and effective; practice craft-building exercises in a variety of areas.  Participants encouraged to use class material as the basis for their future thesis work. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 609  Genres I - Speculative Fiction, Mystery, and YA  6 credits
Focus on providing students with experience writing in the speculative fiction genres, exploring the traditions and current trends in the market. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 612  Narrative Nonfiction 6 credits
Focus on introducing students to both long and short form of writing in narrative nonfiction, with writing practice in a variety of sub-categories.  Students also build skills in utilizing nonfiction as it applies to their interest in fiction writing. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 631  Scansion Immersion  2 credits
Focus on an intensive review of prosody – how to make meter and rhythm work in the poetic line as well as how to discern that structure in the works of others. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 632  Public Performance  2 credits
Focus on the quintessence of public speaking, particularly as it applies to the performance of poetry, delivery of lectures, and participation in panels, understanding of the craft of using their voices and their physical presence to deliver creative, critical and pedagogical work orally to the public, and how to participate in conversations with the greatest possible skill and grace. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 636  Metrical Traditions  & Versification I  6 credits
Focus on tracing the development of the metrical tradition in English poetry from the beginning to the present.  Students read poems in all the major forms (Anglo-Saxon Strong Stress Meter, the ballad, classical imitations, blank verse, the sonnet, iambic tetrameter, etc.) along with historical and theoretical commentary.  Students also model such forms and scan their own work and that of others. Students will also trace the development of theories of versification and prosody in English.  Students read a wide range of works, many of them by poets, in which they describe their craft and that of others, and they compare theories of and approaches to metrical poetry.  In this course students are expected to produce a wide range of short essays on various traditions of versification, along with at least one substantial research paper. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 638  History of the English Language/Poetry Translation  6 credits
Focus on a two-pronged study, first of the historical development and evolution of English, and second, work to understand translating poetry, studying and comparing translations, reading theories of translation and attempting translations. Prerequisites: Proof of second-year, or its equivalent, of reading competency in a foreign language, and admission to the program.

CRWR 641 Metrical Traditions & Versification II  6 credits
Focus on emphasizing advanced topics in metrical composition, e.g. stanza forms, longer forms and sequences, narrative forms, nonce forms (including free verse forms).  Students not only practice the forms, but read and scan them along with delving into the history, criticism and theory. The course also selects several major traditions in verse theory and explores them in depth, e.g., linguistic theories of verse; structuralist theories; relations between verse and music; attempt to imitate classical forms in modern languages; etc. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 643  Historical Foundations of English Prosody  6 credits
Focus on an exploration of the theory and practice of rhythm and rhyme, including all variations, their sources and their traditions in consideration of aesthetic, linguistic, and anthropological theories. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 661  Film History and Analysis; the Visual Narrative  2 credits
Focus on examination, analysis, and discussion of classic and contemporary films from a screenwriting, story, and character development perspective as well as analyses of theme and motif.  Students engage in writing activities and exercises to develop a visual narrative style.  All such writing goes towards creating material to fuel the mentoring process in upcoming semesters.  The main theme here is: when possible show the story element; don’t have a character say it.  Finally the prevailing three- and four-act screenplay structures will be explored. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 662  Story, Conflict, Character, and Genre in Screenwriting  2 credits
Focus on workshopping of short screenplays and projects along with exploration of story arc, elements of conflict, character development and arc, with an emphasis on film genre choices and styles. Includes proposals for upcoming mentoring semesters feature-length screenplays, plus an opportunity to practice pitches. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 665 Screenwriting Genre 6 credits

Focus on challenging students to write filmic stories in three distinct genre categories, forcing a growth and flexibility to create meaning across a spectrum of setting, time, and circumstance.  Dialogue is permitted but is de-emphasized in favor of a more visual narrative. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 668 Television Drama and Situation Comedy 6 credits

Focus on a thorough proposal for both the drama and sitcom, researched and written. The result will be a complete “pitch” portfolio including a “spec” episode teleplay completed for (both or either) a television drama (and/or) a situation comedy. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 675 Writing the TV Pilot  6 credits
Focus on choosing and writing an original TV pilot for either a 1-hour drama series, or a half-hour sitcom. In addition to the pilot script, this course requires the students to pitch the idea, come up with marketing materials – i.e. treatment for the series, outline of the pilot, a series “bible,” and loglines for at least 4-5 future episodes. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 678 Adaptation  6 credits
Focus on taking preexisting source material (books, newspaper articles, videogames, graphic novels etc.) and learning how to begin adapting such into a screenplay. Students will examine various forms of adaptation, write a research paper, and write the first act of their own feature adaptation piece. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 678 Adaptation  6 credits
Focus on taking preexisting source material (books, newspaper articles, videogames, graphic novels etc.) and learning how to begin adapting such into a screenplay. Students will examine various forms of adaptation, write a research paper, and write the first act of their own feature adaptation piece. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

CRWR 684 Teaching and Pedagogy  6 credits
A guided discussion on pedagogy theory and practice with weekly questions on points of interest, suggested readings, and the opportunity for writing teachers and aspiring writing teachers to discuss challenges and insights about the practice of teaching. Prerequisite: Admission to the Program.