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Summer & Fall 2021 Workshop Themes

Scroll down for Fall “Read Like a Writer” courses and sections of CWL 202. If you’ve taken CWL 202, you can enroll in any of the 3-credit, 300-level creative writing workshops below.

Summer 2021


CWL 335.S01 #65904 Themes in American Lit (“Read Like a Writer” course) SBC: USA, HFA+
Children’s Lit Survey with Emma Walton Hamilton
Summer Session I (May 29-Jul 3) Online Asynchronous
This course celebrates the power and impact of children's and young adult literature by surveying its three primary forms: picture book, middle grade, and young adult. The 6-week semester will be divided into thirds, with two weeks devoted to each form. Weekly learning modules include video presentations, reading materials and Blackboard discussions on the various craft elements of each form. Students will read and present one book for each of the forms studied.

CWL 300.S01 # 65380 Creative Nonfiction SBC: HFA+, WRTD
Writing on Politics with Neal Gabler
Summer Session II (Jul 5-Aug 14) Online T/Th 9:30AM-12:55PM
"May you live in interesting times," goes the old curse. Alongside the Civil War, these may be the most fraught times in American history. This course is intended to help us make sense of these times by deploying three components -- first, by surveying American politics since the New Deal to provide a context for our current situation; second, by encouraging students to think seriously about American politics and generate ideas about them that transcend opinions; and third, by learning how to translate those ideas into prose. We will look at political op-eds, political analysis, political biography and political history, and students will read from Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Richard Ben Cramer, Rick Perlstein, and Robert Caro, among others, as well as contemporary columnists and journalists. Students will write papers that will test their powers of political analysis and expression as well as their ability to research and gather information as political reporters.

Fall 2021



CWL 300.S01 #93402 - HFA+, WRTD
Creative Nonfiction Survey with Robert Lopez
TU 4:45-7:35PM
This workshop is for writers who want to delve into the still-evolving genre of creative nonfiction, which includes (but is not restricted to) personal essay (and its multitude of sub-genres), memoir, and exploratory criticism. Through exercises during the first few weeks, we experiment with these forms and develop the skills to build a narrative frame around real-life events and situations. Then we will write our own pieces, all while reading and discussing non-fiction from a host of writers, including Joan Didion, Kiese Laymon, James Baldwin, Eula Biss, Maggie Nelson and others. 

CWL 300.S02 #93403 - HFA+, WRTD
The Personal Essay with Amy Scheiner
TU/TH 1:15-2:35PM
The allure of the personal essay is that it can be about anything. So how do we know what to write about? What is “worthy” of storytelling? How do we organize a messy life into an essay that is true to our experience and creatively satisfying? In this class, we’ll look at the personal essay from creation to submission. We’ll evaluate the various forms of the personal essay as well the most popular types we see being published today. While experimenting with various structures and topics, we will dedicate the second half of the semester to workshopping and revising a personal essay with the intent of submission .



CWL 305.S01 #93405 SBC: HFA+, WRTD 
Dystopian/Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing with Kaylie Jones
TU 4:45-7:35PM
The most difficult aspect of writing fantasy, speculative fiction, or science fiction is the "world building," as your reader comes to the story with no knowledge whatsoever of the world you are creating. We often read fantasy and science fiction for fun, forgetting, or not noticing, how difficult it is to build a brand-new world for our readers. How much is enough information? Too much information? How does the culture and landscape of this imagined world affect the lives of the protagonists/antagonists? This workshop will be helpful to any students who are interested in science fiction and/or fantasy literature. We will read the opening pages of several of the best novels in these genres, and explore how the authors parse out the information, and how that information propels the narrative forward. The class will be divided into two sections, so that all students will get a chance to submit their own work on a bi-monthly basis. It is my hope that writing fantasy and science fiction will be as much fun for students as reading it.

CWL 305.S02 #93406 - HFA+, WRTD
The Art of Revision with Megan McAndrew
TU/TH 11:30AM-12:50PM
We talk about it all the time, but what do we actually mean?  In this hands-on workshop, we will demystify the arduous but necessary process of revising, editing and rewriting.  This class will be most helpful to students working (or stuck) on a longer writing project.  Highly recommended for BFA candidates and CWL Minors.  IMPORTANT: YOU MUST HAVE A MANUSCRIPT AT LEAST 40 PAGES LONG TO JOIN, EITHER FICTION OR CREATIVE NONFICTION.

CWL 305.S03 # 93407 - HFA+, WRTD
Is there a Right Way to Write Diverse Characters? with Raj Paulus
M/W 10:30-11:50AM
Diversity is what makes our world precious and unique, colorful and creative. The importance of diversifying literature and writing diverse characters is critical to expanding the stories told and heard. This is a complex issue and a conversation that must be discussed. Let’s learn from established voices and each other as we shape our work and paint the world with new stories.

CWL 305.S04 #93408 HFA+, WRTD
Breaking the Rules, with Carrie Cabral
M 4:25-7:15PM
As writers, we’re told that in order to break the rules, we first need to learn the rules. But what happens when we do break the rules? What makes rule-breaking fiction successful? In this class, we’ll examine rule-breaking books and short stories, fiction that smashes through conventional timelines and fourth walls and genres. We’ll work together to push our limits and learn how to break the rules—and how to get away with it.

CWL 305.S05 #93409 - HFA+, WRTD
Writing the Novella with Megan McAndrew
W 9:45AM-12:35PM
In the louche territory between the short story and the novel lies that cheeky interloper, the novella. At its finest, it's the best of both worlds, combining the economy of the former with the breadth of the latter.  For writers of short fiction, the novella offers an opportunity to wade in a little deeper; for novelists, an invitation to restraint. In an effort to better understand the form, we will be reading several of its most artful practitioners, including Anton Chekhov, Stefan Zweig, Thomas Mann, Penelope Fitzgerald, Jeanette Winterson and  Helen Oyeyemi.  And naturally, we will be writing our own novellas.  Highly recommended for all BFAs concentrating in fiction.

CWL 305.S06 #93433 - HFA+, WRTD
Workshopping the Short Story, with William Stieglitz
M/F 1-2:20PM
A writer’s journey is not a solitary one, and in fact flourishes when sharing ideas and experiences as a community. Through workshopping each other’s short stories as a class, we’ll learn both how to strengthen our writing and how to work together to sharpen our understanding of structure and technique. We’ll learn just as much composing feedback for someone else’s work as we will receiving feedback for our own. You’ll write 2 short stories through the semester and choose one to revise at the end. The exercise you get through workshopping will develop how you think as a writer.

CWL 305.S07 #95885 SBC: HFA+, WRTD
Pro Tools with Robert Crace
TU/TH 1:15-2:35PM
Painting requires a utensil, a pigment, a surface.
Film requires a camera, a subject, a projection. 
Writing requires an idea, a marker, a surface 
and a language.
In her Nobel Prize Lecture, Toni Morrison breaks down the force, deference, and life of language: “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.”

We dream, we capture, we communicate language through writing. This course will look to deepen students’ storytelling ability; elevate the artistic expression of word ideas; and solidify proficiency in reporting and arranging facts. We will expand on the fundamentals covered in CWL 202 to explore advanced uses of Subtext, Tone, Pace, Arc, Description, Dialogue, and Detail. We will take a deeper look into practices and processes that improve our writing: outlining, drafting, rearranging, revising, and proofreading. We will then explore broader aspects of creative writing: professional applications, psychological challenges, didactic writing, and utilizing other mediums. Throughout the course we will fill our toolbox to build a stronger relationship between ourselves and language.




CWL 310.S02 #93411   HFA+, WRTD
Sound with Julie Sheehan
M/W 2:40-4PM
In this prosody workshop, we’ll make a joyful noise, studying the capacity English has to produce sound and practicing these formal elements in our own poetry. We’ll learn to detect the rhythms of our accentual-syllabic language and make meter out of it. We’ll wield forms of repetition like refrain and other sound effects like rhyme. We’ll experiment with various stanza shapes and forms. We’ll also look at how these sounds emerged from an oral tradition, a tradition that continues to thrive today. We will take the opportunity to listen as well as write, to rely on and hone our ear, just as poets have for centuries.


CWL 310.S03 #93415 HFA+, WRTD
The Art of Voice / 50 Poems with Molly Gaudry
T/TH 11:30AM-12:50PM
In this course, we’ll read about and discuss a variety of techniques for crafting a compelling, distinctive, and memorable speaking self / persona / poetic voice. Plan to produce at least fifty poems by the end of the semester, many of which you’ll begin in class. N.B. As this course privileges generation over revision there are no formal workshops, but students will have time in class to share poems-in-progress and receive feedback throughout the semester (Required texts: Tony Hoagland’s  The Art of Voice: Poetic Principles and Practice; Ross Gay’s  Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude; Chen Chen’s  When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities; E. Briskin’s  Orange; Ada Limón’s  Bright Dead Things.)

CWL 310.S04 #93432 HFA+, WRTD
Poetic Technique with LB Thompson
M 4:25-7:15PM
Students will engage in three kinds of activities in this Creative Writing Poetry course: 1. generative in-class writing designed to cultivate poetic techniques 2. close-readings of assigned contemporary poems, and 3. the constructive discussion of original student poems in progress. In our weekly class sessions, we will work in a respectful, creative atmosphere that is “playful and serious at the same time,” which John Dewey reminds us, is not only possible but also “defines the ideal mental condition.”




As of Fall 2020, Creative Writing students interested in screenwriting should enroll in FLM 215 . Playwriting (see below) continues to be offered under CWL 315. To get permission to enroll and to count these FLM writing workshops toward the creative writing major or minor, contact Liz McRae ( ).


TV Writing:The Spec Script, with Meryl Branch-McTiernan  
W 4:25-7:15PM
This course will introduce you to the process of writing half-hour television comedies in both the single and multi-camera formats. It will explore story structure, character, plot, theme, genre and comedic dialog through lectures, readings, screenings, and analysis of scripts. The best way to learn to write television is to read other scripts to see how they work. We will read many. Most of the graded work will be writing assignments in various television comedy formats culminating in a complete "spec script.” A spec script is an idea you have for an episode of an existing show. You will learn sitcom story format, how to match the voice and tone of the show, how to give and take notes, and what the industry is looking for in a good spec. At the end of the class, you’ll have a revised draft. This course is designed for students interested in advancing their study of the craft of screenwriting and exploring career paths in writing for television.
The Art of the Screenplay, with Will Chandler
TH 4:45-7:35PM
All great screenplays share a compelling, well-told story. In this course, students will analyze films and read contemporary screenplays, deconstructing them to learn why they work so well. Students will leave understanding the construction of story, the value of juxtaposing scenes, the power of the visual image, the importance of underlying theme, the need for conflict and the development of compelling, layered characters and their dialogue. Students will be guided through the process of developing their own stories and will leave with a screenplay outline, a three-act story arc and a completed first act of their own script.

FLM 215.03 #55140 - HFA+
Screenwriting: What Makes a Great Movie , with Dave Chan
Fri 10:30AM-1:20PM
It all starts with the script. Do you have a story that you always thought would make a great movie? In this course, you will learn how to put your idea onto the page in a visual, compelling way using the fundamentals that make up a memorable script: character, story, dialogue, conflict, and theme. Through creative exercises, you will incorporate these elements into writing effective scenes – the building blocks of your script. We will also watch films and read screenplays to determine what makes them stand out from the rest and how they can serve as inspiration for your own stories. This class will be a supportive screenwriting workshop so active participation from everyone in a constructive and thoughtful way is expected. Upon successful completion of this course, you will have finished both an outline and a polished Act One of your script and learned the skills to continue telling your stories in a visual, compelling way.




CWL 320.S01 #93412 - EXP+, WRTD
Literary Magazine Practicum, with Genevieve Crane
TU/TH 1:15-2:35PM
A one-two punch for students interested in learning the basics of the literary magazine world, both as writers and editors. Students will engage in one round of workshop, assess works submitted for publication, and dive into the editorial side of a fledgling magazine. This is an ideal course for students who crave a strong foundational understanding of the publishing world when they apply for internship opportunities.



CWL 325.S01 #94172 - STAS, WRTD
Writing Through our Five Senses, with Miranda Beeson
TH 4:45-7:35PM

Smell : Pheromones, Anosmia, Roses & Cleopatra's Cedarwood Ship

Hit the tripwire of smell, and memories explode all at once.

Touch : Tattoos, Pain, Kissing, Palm Readers & Code Senders

Language is steeped in the metaphors of touch — The skin has eyes.

Taste : Sex, Food, Taste Buds, Craving, The Psychopharmacology of Chocolate

No two of us taste the same plum.

Hearing : The Hearing Heart, Quicksand & Whale Songs, Music & Emotion

Sounds so captivate us that we love to hear words rhyme... to ricochet off one another.

Vision : Light, Why Leaves Turn Color in the Fall, The Painter's Eye, The Force of an Image

There is much more to seeing.. than mere seeing. 

& Synesthesia ...

Accompanied by Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses ( and other writers as varied

as Oliver Sacks, Roxane Gay, Michael Pollan, M.F.K. Fisher, Ruth Reichl & Ross Gay), we

will read & write in multiple forms as we investigate our five senses & their place on the page.



These are open to all comers. Expect creative writing assignments in response to lots of reading.

CWL 190  Intro to Contemporary Lit #93389 - HUM
Fraught Families, with Genevieve Crane
T/TH 3-4:20PM

Prerequisite : WRT 102 

Oscar Wilde opined that “children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.” This course examines the literary appeal of dysfunctional families in our culture through multiple genres. We will analyze the many techniques writers use to approach generational rifts in modern literature, with special focus on parent/child relationships. Students are expected to read avidly, engage in class discussion of craft, and develop creative work with a focus on character complexity. Two-dimensional evil stepmothers need not apply. 

CWL 340 World Lit #95872 - GLO, HFA+

Beauties & Beasts from Around the World, with Molly Gaudry
T/TH 9:45-11:05AM

Why have variations of “Beauty and the Beast” endured for over two millennia? How do writers continue to make it new to speak to issues in their own time and culture? To begin to answer these questions, we’ll spend the first half of the semester studying Jerry Griswold’s  The Meanings of ‘Beauty & the Beast’: A Handbook.   Students will  keep a journal detailing their understanding of critical interpretations of the tale (e.g., sociohistorical, psychological, feminist).  We’ll then survey several variants in Maria Tatar’s  Beauty and the Beast: Classic Tales About Animal Brides and Grooms from Around the World.  From this collection students will choose a version that speaks to their own individual interests, in order to spend the second half of the semester reimagining and retelling it for contemporary audiences. The final project will be a creative retelling that incorporates craft strategies from Benjamin Percy’s  Thrill Me: Essays on Fictionnd how do writers and artists make it new, to speak to issues in their own time and culture? 




CWL 202.S01 M/W 8:30-9:50AM  

CWL 202.S02 M/W 8:30-9:50AM  

CWL 202.S03 M/W/F 10:30-11:25AM  

CWL 202.S04 M/W/F 11:45-12:50PM  

CWL 202.S05 M/F 1:00-2:20PM

CWL 202.S06 M/F 1:00-2:20PM

CWL 202.S07 M/W 2:40-4PM   

CWL 202.S08 TU/TH 8-9:20AM

CWL 202.S09 TU/TH 11:30AM - 12:50PM

CWL 202.S10 TU/TH 9:45-11:05AM

CWL 202.S11 TU/TH 9:45-11:05AM   

CWL202 .S12 TU/TH 1:15-2:35PM   

CWL 202 .S13 TU/TH 3-4:20PM

CWL 202 .S14 TU/TH 4:045-6:05PM

CWL 202 .S15 TU/TH 11:30AM-12:50PM

CWL 202 .S16 TU/TH 3-4:20PM

CWL 202 .S17 M/W 2:400-4PM

Creative writing workshop in multiple genres, from fiction to poetry to scriptwriting, intended to introduce students to the basic tools and terminology of the fine art of creative writing. Participants also read contemporary works, give a public reading, and attend Writers Speak, the Wednesday reading series, or an equivalent.