Creative Writing Minor

Overview

The creative writing courses offers students a practical, theoretical, and historical understanding of the art and craft of writing nonfiction and fiction prose and poetry, as well as experimenting in digital storytelling and interactive media. The minor encourages students to use those skills and insights for interdisciplinary projects and the enrichment of their careers and personal lives.

Notes about this minor:

  • This minor is closed to students majoring in English.
  • Posting of the minor on the student's academic transcript requires a minimum GPA of 2.0 in the minor.
  • Notations may appear in the curriculum chart below outlining pre-requisites, co-requisites, and other curriculum requirements (see footnotes).

The plan code for Creative Writing Minor is CRWRIT-MN.

Curriculum for Creative Writing Minor

Course
Electives*
Creative writing workshop courses:
    ENGL-211
   Introduction to Creative Writing: Prose and Poetry
Introduction to Creative Writing is designed to guide students into the craft of creative nonfiction and fiction prose or poetry. The primary goal is to experiment with various forms of creative writing and to produce at least one polished work. The course uses peer feedback and workshops in the development of creative writing projects. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   ENGL-212
   Introduction to Creative Writing: Forms and Styles
Creative writing in the 21st century is no longer bound to the printed page; it exists in many forms, across many media. This course introduces students to multi-media creative writing through generative writing techniques, specifically focusing on language as the basic building block of writing. Exercises in reading, writing, workshop, and revision will teach students techniques to manipulate language, construct narrative through non-linear approaches, and generate ideas for particular media through linguistic play. Students will learn elements of craft specific to particular forms and media. Class workshops will provide the opportunity to give and receive feedback as well as participate in collaborative creation. Students will produce creative work for digital and location-based distribution as well as for live performance, therefore highlighting the diversity of physical and virtual media where 21st-century creative writing takes place. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   ENGL-376
   Experimental Writing
Is it true that literature makes nothing happen? Experimental writing is built on the opposite assumption! This course introduces students to innovative texts that challenge our usual ways of thinking about the relationship of language to the world: the cultural contexts within which language functions, the conflicts out of which it arises, the aesthetic pleasures with which it is associated, and the purposes – intentional or other – which it serves. Writing experiments can test boundaries and break limits, offering us ways to reconsider and redefine our own experience – social, intellectual, emotional, spiritual. Moving from magic to modernity, from monster to machine, we will explore the transformative power of experimental writing. Students are expected to post weekly responses to the readings in Discussions on MyCourses, work with a group to research and prepare a class presentation on a significant experimental writer, and submit a final paper on a theme to be announced. Expect reading quizzes and a take-home final exam. (Prerequisites: ENGL-211 or completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement or equivalent course.) Lecture 4 (Spring).
   ENGL-386
   World Building Workshop
This course focuses on the collaboration construction of fictional worlds. Students will learn to think critically about features of fictional worlds, such as the social, political, and economic structures that influence daily life for the characters who inhabit that world. Students will also participate in extensive character development exercises, and then write short fiction from these characters’ perspectives describing the challenges they face in these worlds. Students will critique each other’s fiction and submit revised work. Each class will include considerations of sophisticated fictional worlds in print and in other media and discuss world building features relevant to teach. (Prerequisites: ENGL-211 or completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
   ENGL-389
   Digital Creative Writing Workshop
Digital creative writing involves much more than simply writing in digital formats - it can include computer-generated poetry, bots, hypertext fiction, Augmented Reality, or locative narrative. This course is for students who want to explore digital creative writing in all its forms. Through reading, discussion, and exercises, students will produce born digital writings in different applications. Students will learn style and craft techniques for digital environments while also exploring the relationship between content and digital applications. Peer critiques will help students rethink their work and become better editors. Programming knowledge is helpful but not required. This course can be taken up to two times for a total of six semester credit hours as long as the instructors are different. (Prerequisites: ENGL-211 or completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
   ENGL-390
   Creative Writing Workshop
This course is for students who want to explore the techniques of a single genre of creative writing and add to their skills as a creative writer. Through reading and discussion, students will see their own writing in a larger context. Reading/reflection and writing/revision will be emphasized all semester. The focus will be on the creation of creative works and the learning of stylistic and craft techniques. Ongoing work will be discussed with peer editors, which will not only help students rethink their work but teach them to become better editors. Group critiques will provide the opportunity to give and receive helpful feedback. Each class will rely extensively on the creative writing workshop model, and will focus on a specific genre of print-based creative writing. The course may be taken up to three times for a total of 9 credit hours, as long as the topics are different. (Prerequisites: ENGL-211 or completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
   ENGL-490
   Advanced Creative Writing Workshop
This course is for students who want to explore the techniques of a single genre of creative writing and have already completed a creative writing workshop. Through reading and discussion, they will see their own writing in a larger context, culminating in a substantial body of work ready for publication. Reading/reflection and writing/revision will be emphasized all semester. The focus will be on the creation of creative works and the learning of stylistic and craft techniques. Ongoing work will be discussed with peer editors, which will not only help students rethink their work but teach them to become better editors. Group critiques will provide the opportunity to give and receive helpful feedback. Each class will rely extensively on the creative writing workshop model, and will focus on a specific genre of print-based creative writing. The course can be repeated up to three times, for 9 semester credit hours, as long the topics are different. (Prerequisites: ENGL-386 or ENGL-389 or ENGL-390 or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
   ENGL-511
   Advanced Topics in Creative Writing
This course is for students who have completed a college level writing course creative writing workshop and want to explore in-depth a literary genre or add to their skills as a creative writer whether interested in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or a combination of genresa specific topic within creative writing. The focus will be on the creation of a significant piece of writing for a final project. In addition to planning and producing a single, sustained creative work, students will complete other exercises and assignments in order to experiment with other genresa variety of writing techniques. Through reading and discussion they will see their own writing in a larger context. Weekly Regular class critiques will provide the opportunity to give and receive helpful feedback. (Prerequisites: ENGL-386 or ENGL-389 or ENGL-390 or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   ENGL-543
   Game-Based Fiction Workshop
This course is for students who have completed a creative writing workshop and want to explore how games and rules can be used to produce unique and unpredictable narratives. Projects will include individual writing exercises, collaborative writing practice, and critiques of peer writing. Students will examine how different game mechanics produce different kinds of narratives and may be encouraged to develop their own game-based writing projects. Through the reading and discussion of other narrative media, students will learn the affordances and limitations of game-based storytelling systems. (Prerequisites: ENGL-386 or ENGL-389 or ENGL-390 or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
Literature courses:
   ENGL-275
   Storytelling: [Genre/Theme]
In this course students will focus on reading and analyzing storytelling as a literary practice. It introduces the basic elements of narrative and story, acknowledging these as a primary way that we organize information and communicate our experiences, whether in fictional or real-world domains. The course explores defining characters of narrative expression and storytelling: story arcs, conflict, transformation, plot, and structural relationships among characters and also between author, text, and audience/reader. Exploring influential commentary on “story” and considering significant differences between oral, print, and digital storytelling methods, the course invites students to consider how the foundations of storytelling have evolved over time, and how new techniques continue to emerge in the present day. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   ENGL-307
   Mythology & Literature
This course is a scholarly investigation into the cultural, historical, social, psychological, religious and spiritual, literary and performative dimensions of world myth. It examines different approaches to the study of myth emerging from disciplines such as anthropology, history, literary studies, and psychology. Special attention will be paid to the effects of these narratives on literature and other kinds of cultural texts, past and present. We will also use myth to develop, and critically reflect on, comparative approaches to world cultures. Lecture 3 (Spring).
   ENGL-308
   Shakespeare Drama
In this course students will read, study, and discuss some of Shakespeare's dramatic work in an attempt to determine the nature of his significance. What political and institutional factors account for the reverence accorded to Shakespeare? In addition to reading a range of Shakespeare’s plays, the course will develop deeper understandings of contemporary literary theory and practices that allow various interpretations of these plays. The approach will be comparative and reflect on the influence and effect of Shakespeare’s work on contemporary culture. Attention will be paid to issues of gender, historicity, iconicity and textual analysis among others Lecture 3 (Spring).
   ENGL-309
   Topics in Literary Forms
This course explores the evolution of an influential literary form ( the short story, drama, poetry, autobiographical literature, or the novel). Reading a series of variations on this literary form, likely bridging cultural or historical contexts or themes, the course develops critical perspectives and artistic insights into this genre of writing. Criticism and theory appropriate to the genre will be discussed as a way to understand the form, its social functions, and its cultural and political significance. The course can be taken up to two times, for a total of 6 semester credit hours, as long as the topics are different. Lecture 3 (Spring).
   ENGL-312
   American Literature
This course presents a study of American literature by engaging in critically informed analysis of texts that emerged from within the geography, history, and cultures that constitute the modern United States. This includes work by colonial writers, Native American writers, African American writers, and writers from the many other ethnic and racial groups who have immigrated to and comprised the fabric of American culture. One of the goals of the class is to analyze and discuss the works in their respective socio-historical contexts, with a special focus on the ways in which individual works belong to a distinctly American literary tradition. Specific literary works studied will vary depending on the instructor. The course can be repeated up to 2 times, for 6 semester credit hours, as long as the topics are different. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   ENGL-313
   British Literature
This course presents a study of British literature by engaging in critically informed analysis of texts that emerged from within the geography, history, and cultures that constitute the modern United Kingdom. This includes work by writers from all parts of the British Isles (England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland) and writers from Britain’s vast global empire. One of the goals of the class is to analyze and discuss the works in their respective socio-historical contexts, with a special focus on the ways in which individual works belong to a distinctly British literary tradition. Specific literary works studied will vary depending on the instructor. The course can be repeated up to 2 times, for 6 semester credit hours, as long as the topics are different. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   ENGL-315
   Digital Literature
Since the initial development of the computer, writers have collaborated with programmers, illustrators, and soundscapists to create digital literatures. Following from radical techniques in print literatures such as concrete poetry, Choose Your Own Adventure novels, and reorderable/unbound fictions, digital literatures exploit the potential of digital formats to explore questions of interactivity, readership, authorship, embodiment, and power. In this class, we will learn to analyze and appreciate digital literatures not simply through their content, but also through the relation of content to form, media, programming platforms, and distribution formats. Our consideration of digital literatures will lead us to cell phones, web pages, video games, virtual reality environments, and genome sequencers. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   ENGL-316
   Global Literature
This course presents a study of global literature by engaging in critically informed analysis of texts from different geographical regions or cultural perspectives. Students will discover new modes for thinking about what global literature is, and how globalizing impulses have changed and shaped our world. One of the goals of the class is to analyze and discuss the works in their respective socio-historical contexts, with a special focus on the theme of encounter or contact zones. The impact of various factors such as migration, nationality, class, race, gender, generation, and religion will also be taken into consideration. The course can be repeated up to two times, for 6 semester credit hours, as long as the topics are different. Lecture 3 (Spring).
   ENGL-318
   Popular Literature
This course examines popular literature, a designation that has meant different things at different times and that has included literature as diverse as Shakespearean comedies, Gothic fiction, Science Fiction, and Fantasy. In part, students will consider the artistic relationships between popular literature and both historical and contemporary literary forms in order to understand how popular literature draws upon and sometimes invents new kinds of artistic representation. The class will also ask students to explore what social attitudes and pressures help to make a form popular at a particular moment in time, and how popularity is often driven by the social networks of book production, marketing, sales, and adaptation. Different sections may focus on different popular literary forms. Whatever the topic, the course will provide students a lens through which to discuss how the public, mainstream authors, and literary critics, as well as editors and publishers, impact the development of literary traditions. Lecture 3 (Annual).
   ENGL-320
   Genre Fiction
Students will learn about foundational texts in one or more category of genre fiction and review its development in the 19th, 20th, and/or 21st centuries. Genre is a category characterized by similarities in style, or subject matter. Examples include science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, fanfiction, magical realism, or historical fiction. The course approaches genre fiction as literary form, as cultural artifact, and as philosophical speculation; students will learn to distinguish key features of genre fiction, including the historical inspiration as well as contemporary trends. The course may be taken up to two times for a total of 6 credit hours, as long as the topics are different. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   ENGL-373
   Media Adaptation
This course introduces students to the field of adaptation studies and explores the changes that occur as particular texts such as print, radio, theatre, television, film, and videogames move between various cultural forms and amongst different cultural contexts. The course focuses upon works that have been disseminated in more than one medium. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   ENGL-374
   Games and Literature
Who studies game studies? Writing in games can often be hit or miss, so relying on an established story can provide support and allows the medium to evolve to cover more interesting stories than the typical mass-offering affairs. Still, literature and games are fundamentally different media- and as such these differences must be accounted for when mapping literature onto video games. Will game studies ever be as highly regarded as is critical scholarship on, say, literature? Can a video game possess substantial literary merit? Can a video game offer the same depth of characters and insight into the human condition as a novel? Do video games invite the player to do the same things that works of great literature invite the reader to do: identify with the characters, invite him to judge them and quarrel with them, and to experience their joys and sufferings as the reader’s own? In this course we will have these conversations and then go beyond. We will examine works that have visually evocative and varied settings; narratives that make readers wonder what is going to happen next; and a rapidly changing culture that prompts even more questions than it answers. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   ENGL-375
   Storytelling Across Media
This course introduces the basic elements of narrative, reflecting on key concepts in narrative theory such as – story and plot, narration and focalization, characterization, storyspace, and worldmaking – to enhance your understanding of how stories work and your ability to understand how such storytelling strategies convey their meaning and themes. After an initial exploration of storytelling traditions emerging from oral myth and short stories in print, we expand our inquiries into what a narrative is and what it can do by considering what happens to storytelling in graphic novels, digital games, and in recent electronic literature. Reflecting on competing definitions and varieties of narrative, the course raises the overarching question of why how we access, read, write, and circulate stories as a culture matters. Expect to read stories in a variety of media, to review basic concepts and conversations drawn from narrative theory, and to creatively experiment with the storytelling strategies we are analyzing in class. No familiarity with specific print, digital, or visual media necessary, though a willingness to read and reflect on stories in various media and to analyze their cultural significance will be essential. Lecture 3 (Spring).
   ENGL-377
   Transmedia Storyworlds
A transmedia storyworld is a shared universe in which its settings, characters, objects, events, and histories are featured in one or more narratives across many different media, including print fiction, films, television episodes, comics/ graphic novels, and games. This course will focus on the construction of large-scale transmedia storyworlds and how such storyworlds expand in size and detail over time. Students will trace narrative arcs as deployed through different media and consider the strengths and limitations of each medium in terms of adding to knowledge about the transmedia storyworld. The course will also analyze the differences and similarities between transmedia narratives, adaptation, and other forms of serial storytelling; the multi-authored nature of transmedia storyworlds; commercial aspects of transmedia storyworlds; and creative work produced by and for fan communities. Lecture 3 (Fall).
   ENGL-391
   Dangerous Texts
This course will examine how suppression of information has been orchestrated throughout history in different contexts. The process of suppressing information –of people in power attempting to hide images, sounds and words– must itself be viewed in perspective. We must recognize acts of censorship in relation to their social settings, political movements, religious beliefs, cultural expressions and/or personal identities. The texts that we will study were all considered dangerous enough to be banned by governments. They are dangerous because they represent sexuality, race, politics, and religion in ways that challenge the current political/cultural norms of their given culture. What, then, is so dangerous about a fictional representation? What is it that makes a certain work dangerous at a particular time and how does this danger manifest itself in stories, novels (print and graphic), and poetry? Studying these dangerous texts and watching some dangerous films we will ask: what features of political and cultural regimes do artists tend to single out for criticism? What is the range of expressive tools they use, including the contemporary context of digital media? What is it that makes intellectuals in general and imaginative writers in particular so potent a threat to established power? Do issues like these matter only in totalitarian regimes, or can we learn something about the book-banning pressures in our own society? How do social media technologies complicate discussions of censorship and creativity? Lecture 3 (Fall).
   ENGL-400
   Literary & Cultural Studies
A focused, in depth study and analysis of a selected topic in literary and/or cultural studies. Specific topics vary according to faculty assigned. (Prerequisites: Completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement is required prior to enrolling in this class.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Summermr).
   ENGL-414
   Women and Gender in Literature and Media
This variable topic course examines one or more themes, figures, movements, or issues associated with the representation of women and gender in literature and media, and/or associated with the historical, cultural, and theoretical questions provoked by women as producers and consumers of media and texts. The topic for the course is chosen by the instructor, announced in the course subtitle, and developed in the syllabus. The course can be taken multiple times provided that the topic being studied has changed. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   ENGL-418 
   Great Authors
This course provides an in-depth look at literary giants and the masterpieces of prose or poetry they have created; it's an opportunity to see the role they played both within the context of their own time and within the larger span of literary history. These great authors confront key questions of modernity that continue to occupy us to this day; they ask the question of what it means to be human and explore fundamental human themes. They give us a fresh perspective on the past and on ourselves. (Prerequisites: Completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement is required prior to enrolling in this class.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
   ENGL-419
   Literature and Technology
Surveying the rise of computing technologies, information theories, and information economies in the last century, this course considers their impact on literature, culture and knowledge-formation. In particular, we will reflect on topics such as the relations between social and technological transformation, literary print and digital cultures and electronic literature. (Prerequisites: Completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement is required prior to enrolling in this class.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
   ENGL-422
   Maps, Spaces and Places
This course takes as its premise that spatial thinking is critically important. Spatial thinking informs our ability to understand many areas of 21st century culture, as mobile interfaces and geospatial technologies enable us to engage with our surroundings in new ways. The study begins with the history maps and mapmaking, and explores how maps work. As students create representational, iconographic, satirical, image-based, informational, and other map forms, the course emphasizes the map as narrative. The course develops into an exploration of the ways, particularly in texts, that mapmaking creates cultural routes, mobile forms of ethnography, and ways of imagining travel and tourism in the era of globalization. The diverse writers represented in this course are rethinking space as a dynamic context for the making of history and for different organizations of social and communal life. (Prerequisites: Completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement is required prior to enrolling in this class.) Lecture 3 (Fall).
   ENGL-450
   Free & Open Source Culture
This course charts the development of the free culture movement by examining the changing relationship between authorship and cultural production based on a variety of factors: law, culture, commerce and technology. In particular, we will examine the rise of the concept of the individual author during the last three centuries. Using a variety of historical and theoretical readings, we will note how law and commerce have come to shape the prevailing cultural norms surrounding authorship, while also examining lesser known models of collaborative and distributed authoring practices. This background will inform our study of the rapid social transformations wrought by media technologies in last two centuries, culminating with the challenges and opportunities brought forth by digital media, mobile communications and networked computing. Students will learn about the role of software in highlighting changing authorship practices, facilitating new business and economic models and providing a foundation for conceiving of open source, open access, participatory, peer-to-peer and Free (as in speech, not beer) cultures. (Prerequisites: Completion of First Year Writing (FYW) requirement is required prior to enrolling in this class.) Lecture 3 (Spring).

* Students choose either five creative writing workshop electives or four creative writing workshop electives and one literature elective.