Every writer needs to develop a critical sense to augment creative ability. For this reason, the Creative Writing Department offers two types of courses. Workshop courses are seminars that focus on writing and on the discussion of student work. Reading courses for writers focus on aspects of literature presented from a writer's point of view. Frequently they employ writing in imitation as one of several approaches to understanding the craft of writing. Upper division workshop courses are offered at the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels in poetry, nonfiction, and fiction. Several reading courses link two genres such as fiction and poetry, and poetry and drama.
Beginning with an introduction to writing fiction, this course leads students step-by-step through the essentials of the craft – including characterization, plotting, description, dialogue and editing – towards an enhanced understanding of how novels and stories are written. There are also individual sessions on special topics – such as constructing an effective opening sequence, using imagery creatively, and working with experimental or other distinctive genres – and the emphasis throughout is upon developing an individual voice and a confident style while working in a wholly supportive environment.