Genre Fiction

Courses

FOR REQUIRED COURSES AND DEGREE PLANS, VISIT THE OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY CATALOG. This is a list of courses offered by Western State Colorado University. To ensure the courses you need are offered during the current semester, please visit the current university catalog at http://www.western.edu/catalog. To determined the courses required for your major, check the "Majors and Minors" tab for your area of study.

 CRWR 600 - ORIENTATION (1 credits)

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 - FUNDAMENTALS OF WRITING GENRE FICTION I (2 credits)

The primary foundation and introduction for the genre fiction track, covering a wide variety of topics including: proper manuscript format, understanding of basic principles of fiction (such as plot and dialogue), the Monomyth, archetypal characters, and voice. Students complete a short story during the course and critique each other's work in a group setting. This course also lays the groundwork for students to work efficiently during the online portions of the program as well as within their own writing process. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 602 - FUNDAMENTALS OF WRITING GENRE FICTION II (2 credits)

Begins the process of students planning their theses, using instructor-provided tools on world building, novel outlining and planning techniques, and story arc considerations for longer work. At the end of this course, students are prepared to submit their thesis outline and synopsis to their adviser and move forward during the following year to write it for completion the next spring. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 604 - CAREER PLANNING FOR GENRE WRITER (2 credits)

Assists students in preparing a detailed career plan covering the 12 to 24 month period after graduation, including writing, submission, and networking plans. On completion, students have a clear roadmap to follow in the years ahead. In addition, students prepare to give a public thesis reading during the residency. 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.  

 CRWR 608 - GENRE WRITING I - ROMANCE MYSTERY FICTON (6 credits)

The primary genre writing course for the first semester of the program. Students complete exercises, excerpts, and shorter works in the primary subgenres of romance and mystery fiction, including romantic suspense, historical romance, detective fiction, and thrillers. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 609 - GNRE STD I-ROMNCE MYSTERY FICT (6 credits)

The primary genre reading course for the first semester of the program. Students study a wide variety of sub-genres, including romantic suspense, historical romance, detective fiction, and thrillers, among others, to build a detailed understanding of the specific tropes and hallmarks of each sub-genre and how to apply them to their own work. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 610 - Genre Fiction Writing and Reading Survey (6 credits)

A broad genre fiction reading and writing survey course for Out of Concentration students, surveying romance, mystery, speculative fiction, westerns, and young adult category work. Students focus primarily on understanding genre tropes and writing exercises that illuminate them. 

 CRWR 618 - GENRE STUDIES II - WESTERN, SPECULATIVE, AND YOUNG ADULT FICTION (6 credits)

The primary genre reading course for the second semester of the program. Students study a wide variety of subgenres, including westerns, science fiction, epic fantasy, supernatural, and middle grade works, among others, to build a detailed understanding of the specific tropes and hallmarks of each subgenre and how to apply them to their own work. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 619 - GWII:WSTN SPC YOUNG ADLT FICTN (6 credits)

The primary genre writing course for the second semester of the program. Students complete exercises, excerpts, and shorter works in the primary subgenres of westerns, speculative fiction, and young adult category fiction, including science fiction, epic fantasy, supernatural, and middle grade works. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 620 - Short Forms Genre Fiction Writing (6 credits)

Provides students with an opportunity to focus strictly on writing in the shorter forms of genre fiction and gives them an immediately marketable portfolio of materials. Instructors cover craft concerns in flash fiction, short-short, short story, and novelette.

 CRWR 621 - BUS FUNDMTLS FOR GENRE WRITERS (6 credits)

Provides students a fundamental understanding of the business concerns for writers, including verbal/elevator pitching, query letters, proposal packets, contracts, dealing with editors and agents, and royalty statements. Students are required to complete a master proposal packet, which includes a query letter, synopsis, outline, and the thesis manuscript (if completed, partial if not). Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

 CRWR 646 - NARRATIVE POETRY (6 credits)

Focus on examination, analysis, study, and writing in the narrative genres and modes of poetry, from the ballad to the epic and novel in verse. 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 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.

 CRWR 694 - CAPSTONE - GENRE FICTION (3 credits)

Culmination of the student's education at Western. In consultation with his or her adviser, the student completes a single work of genre fiction OR a collection of shorter genre fiction works (such as short stories or novellas) of publishable quality, suitable for public reading, and for thesis binding. Prerequisite: Admission to the program.

The Genre Fiction Concentration

The Genre Fiction Concentration at Western State Colorado University trains sophisticated, skilled storytellers who graduate prepared to work well and hard. Why the emphasis on skill? Because a storyteller is not just someone with stories to tell, but also someone who has the skill to tell those stories in a way that matters to other people. Those skills are what we teach. Study with us and refine your fire.

Graduate Program in Creative Writing, Application Information

Genre Fiction Concentration

  • Learn under successful, currently publishing authors with scores of book credits.
  • Make network connections with industry professionals to help launch your career.
  • Attend virtual classes with weekly online interaction.

Are you tired of being the only fantasy writer in a workshop of those who think literary fiction is the totality of modern storytelling? Of having your work dismissed before it's even been read, by people who don't even read the kind of fiction you care about -- the kind that actually sells? You won't face those problems at Western. We love literary fiction -- but we specialize in popular, mainstream genre fiction, and we offer one of the most rigorous, thorough, carefully structured curricula on how to write it at any university in the world.

And -- after all -- isn't all fiction actually "genre fiction"? How could anyone write a novel without a genre? War and Peace? Historical and military romance. Crime and Punishment? Psychological thriller. Brave New World? Science fiction. Pride and Prejudice? Regency romance. Frankenstein? Horror. You get the idea. Literary fiction is merely a style, and most literary fiction is merely "genre fiction" that has survived because it is so powerful. The rules and structures of genre come first for all storytelling, and that is what we teach, always with an eye on helping our graduates to write works that will find a public and sell.

In short, we believe that writing matters far beyond academic circles. The art of writing fiction can be not only a passion, but also a way of being and of living in the world. Our instructors, inspired by this philosophy, gather from across the country to offer guidance and experience to aspiring writers who want to reach mainstream audiences. To realize these goals, we have designed a curriculum that celebrates the art and skill of such popular genres as science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, YA, and many other mainstream commercial genres. Through an intensive and innovative program of study, we provide writers with support and industry knowledge to expand their writing and their careers beyond the academy.

As a student in our graduate program, you can expect to read a great deal of great genre fiction and criticism of it, try to write it yourself, discuss and critique it individually and in discussion with your instructors and peers, and then write more, a lot more, every single week. You will learn how to get your writing out into the world. You will discover a supportive community dedicated to your passions and ambitions. While they may argue with you about your specific choices, no one will condescend to your admiration for J. K. Rowling, Stephen King, Louis L'Amour, Elmore Leonard and a thousand other gifted, successful storytellers whose names never even appear in most MFA classrooms. Together, we can reinvigorate the art of fiction and reclaim its audience.

The Genre Fiction curriculum sequence is designed for full-time students. While we understand that students occasionally must drop down to part-time status for financial and personal reasons, we encourage all students to do their best to pursue the degree full-time.

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Director of Genre Fiction Concentration
BA, University of Wisconsin; MFA, National University
Phone: 970.943.2025
Office Location:
Graduate Program in Creative Writing Faculty
BA, Scripps College; MFA, Western State Colorado University; MA, Hebrew Union-College-Jewish Institute of Religion;
Phone:
Office Location:
Graduate Program in Creative Writing Faculty
BA, Fort Lewis College; MFA, University of Southern Maine; PhD, Georgia State University
Phone:
Office Location:
Graduate Program in Creative Writing Faculty
BA, California College of Arts and Crafts; MFA in Popular Fiction, University of Southern Maine; MFA in Painting, Lone Mountain College;
Phone: 970.943.2025
Office Location: Taylor Hall 208