Genre Fiction

Careers

Faculty & Staff

Faculty

Candace Nadon, Ph.D. headshot
Genre Fiction Concentration Faculty
Phone: 970.943.2163
Office Location: Remote
Richard Wilber, Ed.D. headshot
Genre Fiction Concentration Faculty
Phone: 970.943.2163
Office Location: Remote
Fran Wilde, MFA headshot
Director, Genre Fiction Concentration
Phone:
Office Location: Remote

Courses

For required courses and degree plans, visit the official University Catalog. Below is a general overview of courses at Western Colorado University related to this area of study.

 CRWR 600 - SUMMER ORIENTATION (1 cred.)

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.

 CRWR 600 - SUMMER ORIENTATION MFA II (1 cred.)

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.

 CRWR 600 - MFA ORIENTATION III (1 cred.)

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.

 CRWR 600 - SUMMER ORIENTATION MFA I (1 cred.)

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.

 CRWR 601 - FUNDMT WRITING GENRE FICTION I (2 cred.)

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.

 CRWR 602 - FUNDM WRITING GENRE FICTION II (2 cred.)

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.

 CRWR 604 - CAREER PLANNG FOR GENRE WRITER (2 cred.)

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.

 CRWR 608 - GNRE WRT I-ROMNCE MYSTERY FICT (6 cred.)

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.

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

The primary genre reading course for the first semester of the program. Students study a wide variety of subgenres, including romantic suspense, historical romance, detective fiction, and thrillers, 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.

 CRWR 618 - GSII:WSTN SPEC YOUNG ADLT FICT (6 cred.)

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.

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

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.

 CRWR 620 - SHORT FORMS GENRE FICTION WRTG (6 cred.)

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 cred.)

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).

 CRWR 684 - TEACHING AND PEDAGOGY (6 cred.)

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.

 CRWR 694 - SCRNWRTG MSTR'S CAPSTONE PRJ I (3 cred.)

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.

Western Colorado University’s Genre Fiction Concentration offers one of the few genre-specific MFA/M.A. degrees in the country, and one of the only such programs west of the Mississippi. For over a decade, students have participated in our low-residency MFA to elevate their writing practice, their understanding of genre and the scholarship within, and to learn how to work and live as a writer.

Our graduates gain a mastery of their craft, a familiarity with the many forms genre takes— from romance and science fiction to comics and graphic novels, and encompassing reading audiences from middle grade and young adult to adult. Our faculty—award-winning, internationally published professionals in their fields—help students learn how to write work that will find its audience, how to teach in their field and how to engage professionally with the publishing industry.

At the same time, the low-residency option allows Western Genre MFA/M.A. students the opportunity to gain an advanced degree while not having to relocate or put their lives on hold.

Western’s unique curriculum celebrates the art and skill of popular genres, combined with intensive and innovative courses of study in writing, pedagogy and business practices. From the first class to the final creative thesis, students connect with faculty and their peers in ways that forge strong networks for their writing and their careers beyond the academy.

The Program

The Western MFA/M.A.: a low-residency course of study exclusively focused on genre fiction, based in the stunning Colorado Rockies.

Through online classes and virtual meetings during the academic year, and three two-week residencies each July, students work closely with nationally-recognized faculty and their peers on their writing, as well as lectures, readings, discussions and scholarly papers.

The result is a broad understanding of the field, combined with an intensive honing of craft and skill.

  • Residency: Three summer residencies, each two weeks in length. The first prepares students for the first academic year. The second residency focuses again on coursework and collaboration. The third residency is the capstone residency, where graduates present their work to their peers.
  • Academic Year: During the academic year, full-time MFA students take two courses each semester. These six-credit courses make use of virtual meetings and Blackboard for online work in both the reading and analysis of fiction and the writing of fiction.
  • Matriculation: To complete their MFA, students produce a thesis project over the course of their final year. This project, plus other work completed during the course of study, represents a comprehensive creative portfolio. Ongoing discussions with professionals in the field, including editors and agents, prepare Western graduates to emerge into industry with polished, exciting projects.
  • Alternate Courses of Study: M.A. students pursue an identical curriculum to MFA students, but only come for two summers and one academic year. M.A. students do not write a thesis. A secondary concentration option allows students to complete their degrees in two fields, with unique, powerhouse combination including such as Genre Fiction and Screenwriting, Genre Fiction and Publishing, or Genre Fiction and Nature Writing.

Opportunities, Careers and Partnerships

  • Study with successful, currently publishing, award-winning authors.
  • Meet and ask questions of industry professionals, including some of the best editors and agents in the industry.
  • Gain an insight into the industry by reading submissions to magazines and publications.
  • Grow indendently by taking on personal projects including creative journaling and mixed media.
  • Build relationships through mentorship and community support.
  • Keep up with the times by connecting with your audience via social media.
  • Discover the best methods for crafting and pitching your novels as well as constructing a long-term career beyond that first book.
  • Expand your horizons by adding coursework in Screenwriting for Film and Television, Poetry, Nature Writing and Publishing.

Launch your career in:

  • Genre Fiction
  • Traditional publishing
  • Independent publishing
  • Teaching writing
  • Content development
  • Romance
  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Thrillers
  • Horror
  • Comics and graphic novels
  • Children’s literature
  • Adult literature
  • Media tie-ins
  • Crossover media

Faculty and Alumni Bookshelf

  • Updraft, Cloudbound & Horizon (Wilde) – Nebula and Compton Crook winning series, Tor Books 2015-17
  • The Jewel & Her Lapidary (Wilde) – Hugo and Nebula Finalist, an LA Libraries 2016 Best Book, Tor.com Publishing 2016
  • An Unkindness of Magicians (Howard) – Alex-Award winner, an NPR Best book of 2017, Saga Press, 2017
  • Roses and Rot (Howard) – Locus Award Finalist, Saga Press, 2018
  • Sal & Gabi Break The Universe (Hernandez) – Disney/Hyperion 2019
  • The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria (Hernandez) – Rosarium Press 2016
  • “The Moon’s Evening Chill,” (Nadon) Hartskill Review, 2014
  • “Fire,” (Nadon) The Fourth River, 2014
  • “Wolves” and “Cursed:” (Nadon) New South’s Reading Series, Atlanta, Georgia, 2013
  • Alien Morning (Wilbur) – Tor Books (2016)
  • Rum Point (Wilbur) – McFarland (2010)

 

Learn More

Reach out for more information about the program.

Michelle Wilk
Program Support Coordinator
Phone: 
Office Location: 
Quigley Hall 117

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