Skip Navigation

Courses: Spring 2019

All CWL courses 4 credits unless noted otherwise. FLM courses 2-3 credits.
NB: CWL 500, Introduction to Creative Writing will be offered, Fall 2019.


Stony Brook Southampton: Chancellors Hall or Carriage House (Technology Center)

CWL 510 Forms of Fiction: The Novel, Ursula Hegi
Tuesdays, 12:20-4:10 pm
As a reader—what do you look for in a novel? Why? What keeps you engaged? What turns you off? We’ll write a novel together, exploring several dramatic incidents before choosing one incident for the entire workshop. You’ll develop one character who is involved in this conflict, her/his POV of what happens, including how s/he experiences the other characters. As your material develops, we’ll discuss character and plot development, voice, point of view, dialogue that distinguishes between characters, description, significant details, authenticity, risk, tension and revision.

CWL 520 Forms of Poetry: Poetry, Cornelius Eady
Mondays, 4:20-7:10 pm
Poets write, Poets read. These two statements will be the emphasis of this advance poetry workshop. You will be doing three things here: 1) writing and revising your own work (including exercises), 2) Doing close reading of the books assigned (including a reading list which will be generated by the workshop) 3) Interviewing visiting poets about craft, either via Skype or in person. The final in this workshop will be a chapbook of 10-20 of your best poems written and revised over the semester, due the last day of class. A secondary possibility with your chapbook might explore the various ways poetry can be performed.

CWL 565 Topics in Literature: Shakespeare, Paul Harding
Tuesdays, 5:20-8:10 pm
We will give close readings to eight of William Shakespeare’s later plays. The plays will be considered in their historical and religious contexts, their place in the emergence of modern literary English, and most of all for their sheer artistry. Included will be,  Measure for MeasureHamlet,  King Lear, Macbeth, Antony & Cleopatra, Pericles, The Winter’s Tale, and  The Tempest.  We will also look at excerpts from other period works such as William Tyndale’s English translations of the Bible, John Foxe’s  Acts & Monuments, and Thomas North’s translation of Plutarch’s  Lives. Students will generate creative writings in whatever genre, idiom, or form they choose (or chooses them), inspired by the texts and our discussions.

CWL 580.V01 Practicum in Arts Admin, Christian McLean.
Wednesdays, 11 am - 12:30 pm (1 – 4 cr.)
This course teaches important skills in arts/event management. It provides education in marketing,
design and software that will boost your resume and increase your workplace skill set. We’ll examine
work/volunteer opportunities in local arts organizations and you will design an MFA event from the
ground up. Learn the basics in Photoshop, Mailmerge, Google Docs/Sheets, Constant Contact, plus
Facebook & Twitter ads. Completion of at least 6 program credits or permission of instructor required.

CWL 530 Screenwriting I: Find Your Story, Write Your Screenplay, Annette Handley Chandler
Wednesdays, 3:20-6:10 pm

All great screenplays share a captivating, well-told story. This workshop will introduce students to the craft of screenwriting through an examination of what makes a story compelling. Students will learn screenplay fundamentals: theme, character development, character arc, structure, building conflict, scene development, scene sequence, scene juxtaposition, and dialogue.

Students will also learn how to deconstruct and analyze screenplays by reading award-winning screenplays and screening selected films. All participants will be guided through the process of developing their own screenplay ideas in a constructive environment. Each student will leave with a three-act story breakdown and a completed Act One of a viable script. Beginning and Intermediate Screenwriters.

CWL 582.S01 Practicum in Publishing & Editing, Faculty Editors & Emily Gilbert
Thursdays, 11 am - 1:50 pm
Under the guidance of editors and advisors, students will be exposed to the hands-on process of editing
and publishing TSR: The Southampton Review. Completion of 6 credits or permission of instructors

CWL 570 Forms of Fiction: The Long Arc, Susan Scarf Merrell
Thursdays, 2:20 – 5:10 pm
This class will look at your book-in-progress from beginning to end. A group of writers, each of whom is already embarked on a longer work, will come together as a team of crack investigators to examine structure, arc and character, with an eye to creating whole and cohesive literary works.  Full first draft preferred but open to anyone with 100 pages and a view of the entire scope of the work.

CWL 535 Assembling the Narrative, Amy Hempel
Thursdays, 5:20 – 8:10 pm

Assembling a story through vignettes instead of a linear narrative—this workshop will encourage writing from real experience, reportage, or imagination, using the fractured form successfully deployed in works such as Mary Robison’s novel Why Did I Ever, Abigail Thomas’s memoir Safekeeping: Some True Stories from a Life, and stories by Bret Anthony Johnston, Rick Moody, and Christine Schutt. Plan to write a lot, in short takes.




Stony Brook Manhattan
535 Eighth Ave, 5th floor, 36-37th St.

CWL 510.S60 Forms of Fiction: Humor on the Page and on the Screen, Patty Marx
Mondays, 5:20 – 8:10 pm
A man slips on a banana peel. Not so funny, that sentence. See a man slip on a banana. Now that's funny. We will consider and contrast humor on the page and on screen.  We will read, watch, and write. You will have fun. Or else.

CWL 580.S60 Arts Administration Practicum, Carla Caglioti
Alternate Mondays, 4-5 pm. Hybrid course (in-person, Skype, email) (1 credit)
In this practicum we will look at the opportunities and obstacles in building sustainable arts programming in Manhattan.  The class will be given a budget from which to research, develop, schedule and market a literary event with the goal of building community and establishing traditions for Manhattan.  This practicum will introduce participants to the “business of the arts,” providing an overview of the types of work that arts administrators do and the current issues and trends arts management professionals face. By the end of the course, students will have developed an understanding of the critical areas which arts administrators must manage, including budgeting, marketing/publicity, fundraising, audience development, surveying and analysis, scheduling, and contracts. Permission of instructor and completion of at least 6 program credits required.

CWL 565, Topics in Literature: Literature and Film—Adaptation, Analysis, and Amazement, Susan Minot
Tuesdays, 5:20 – 8:10 pm
A class open to both writing and film students, this seminar will consist of reading literature in the form of novels and short stories, and of watching their movie adaptation in class and discussing the relationship between the two.  We will look at the general elements of adaptation as well as explore, in each form, what makes each work brilliant…or not. Some writers on the docket: Louise Vilmorin, whose novella Madame de was made into the masterwork The Earrings of Madame de by Max Ophüls, and Alice Munro, whose short stories inspired Pedro Almodovar’s Julieta.Other possible writers: Maile Meloy, Ken Kesey, Raymond Chandler. Other directors: Kelly Reichardt, Alfred Hitchcock, Miloš Forman, Joseph Mankowitz, Bernardo Bertolucci, Terrence Malick, and others to be decided. We will have short writing assignments to be shared in class, as part of our discussions. Students will be free to do extra writing—either fiction or screenplay scenes—per my suggestions.

CWL 535 Writing in Multiple Genres: The Story You Are, Roger Rosenblatt
7 Saturdays, 10 am – 4 pm, dates: 2/9, 2/23, 3/9, [Spring break 3/16 -3/24], 3/30, 4/13, 4/27, 5/4
Every good writer finds a story or theme that defines his/her work, then returns to again and again. Believe it or not, you can find  Portrait of the Artist in Finnegan, if you're willing to devote a year or two to the hunt. In a way, the pursuit of that one story is the pursuit of a life. And no matter how many times or complicated ways you digress from your story, you always return to it because that story also shows your particular strength as a writer. And by writing it, you are playing to your strength.

This course attempts to help you discover and recognize the story you are—to establish it, to refine it, and to make that story clear to you, so that when you write it again and again you know what you're doing, as you become expert in yourself. You'll write a number of pieces and exercises in different genres. You'll do reading relevant to the subject. Mainly, you'll search and forage for the artist you'll be for the rest of your lives. Warning label: You may not find it, yet.

CWL 540.S60 Creative Nonfiction, Matthew Klam
3 Weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, 10 am - 5 pm, dates:  2/2-2/3, 2/16-2/17, 3/2-3/3. Makeup weekend in case of weather delays TBD.
Most writers need multiple drafts, and when the work succeeds it does so because the author is entangled, involved, a little obsessed. Great creative nonfiction uses all sorts of techniques and tools, uses the intimacy and intensity of great memoir, the confessional power of a first person essay, the disruptive surprise of humor. It uses lists, and stretches of pure dialogue, and plenty of straight up reportage and hard-won observation. The best writing can and should come right at us, should defy our expectations. Creative nonfiction can be structured in a classical or experimental way, or a mix of approaches to fit the subject.

We'll look at examples of the form by Alexandra Fuller, Jon Krakauer, Mary Karr, Mary Gaitskill, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, John Jeremiah Sullivan, Katherine Boo, and many others. We'll examine their structure in the way a carpenter might study a beautiful house. We'll look at half page essays and eye witness accounts, masterworks of longform journalism, essays, chapters of books, comics by Allison Bechdel and Adrian Tomine, sections of plays, and whatever else inspires us. How is it that some writers are able to create real character development and tension in a few lines or pages? We'll talk about that too. In this class we'll write, read, and discuss, while also workshopping your pieces-in-progress in a helpful, constructive manner.  

Thesis - CWL 599 (1-6 credits)
Manhattan and Southampton
Must have thesis planning form on file and approval of thesis advisor to register.  Schedule based in Southampton.

Thesis sections:

.V01 #94040 Merrell
.V02 #94047 Rosenblatt
.V03 #94048 Walker
.V04 #94049 Jones
.V05 #94050 Caglioti
.V06 #94051 Handley Chandler
.V07 #94052 Hegi
.V08 #94053 Bank
.V09 #94055 Reeves
.V10 #94057 Sheehan

.V11 #94060 Brandeis
.V12 #94061 Walker – Pre-thesis Planning, 1 cr.
.V13 #94062 Hempel
.V14 #94063 Marx
.V15 #96190 Eady
.V16 #96191 Minot
.V17 #TBD Harding
.V18 #TBD McAndrew
.V19 TBD Black



Manhattan Film Courses Open to CWL Students

Please note: Please submit a course substitution form for FLM courses to be credited towards fulfilling
CWL requirements. FLM courses are 2-3 credits, so additional course, practicum, or independent
study may be necessary to complete the degree credit requirements. Note that the two CWL
courses offered through the Film program are for THREE (3) credits.

Dates and times of courses below—some TBA:

FLM 576.S65 (#57087) TV Guest Speaker Series
Every other Monday, 5:20 - 8:10 pm

Six Mondays. Students participate in discussions with industry insiders. The focus is on the writing process and the class is designed to reinforce the Pilot Intensive.  Topics include: story inception, breaking stories, working in a writers room, season arcs, writers on the set.

FLM 651.S64 (#56661) TV Writing II, Writing the Pilot: Creating an Original Series - Pilot, Scott Burkhardt
Tuesdays, 5:20 - 8:10 pm, 3 cr.
Each student creates an original series, mini bible and writes a pilot script. Meets 3 hours per week as a class. Building on the skills developed in the Fall semester, each student creates and develops an original series concept. This requires a set of characters and a central conflict that can sustain multiple seasons of compelling stories. The successful series has both this type of story engine and a strong emotional core. From the series concept students move on to creating stories for their pilot episode, outlining and finally writing scenes. Please note that additional class time will be arranged with instructor.

FLM 530.S61 (#56663) Advance Party, Lenny Crooks
Wednesdays, 5:20 – 8:10 pm

The Advance Party challenges all you know about screenwriting as you progress from a blank page to a short form screenplay. We start with a character—each student creates a single character and learns how to describe their character in an authentic way. If the class size is 10 then there will emerge 10 characters and you will choose which of these characters will interact with your own. We then focus on the natural story as an essential element in this organic approach to screenwriting. As we progress, each of your stories will evolve, not out of traditional plot driven characterization but out of the characters’ authentic actions and reactions to situations created by you.

FLM/TV Screenwriting I, Jennie Allen
Wednesdays, 5:20 – 8:10 pm

In this course, students develop a feature-length screenplay idea. Screenings, screenplay readings, and analysis of feature film structure accompany writing exercises and assignments designed to help students develop their idea into a compelling, original story. Students leave with a prose treatment of their story from start to finish as well as the first 30 pages. 

FLM 651.S63 (#56660) Script Doctor, Lenny Crooks
Thursdays, 5:20 – 8:10 pm

Our Script Doctor course is for graduate students who have already taken the plunge and written a narrative feature film script AND are prepared to subject the script to a health check by class colleagues led by Lenny Crooks. In the first Class Lenny will share his views on screenwriting and highlight some common problems encountered by entry-level screenwriters. Each subsequent class will focus on the script presented (and uploaded one week in advance) by an individual class member. Students with partially written scripts will be accommodated and will present in pairs. Each week, following an introduction by the selected class member, the class will be a forum for critique and discussion with a view to assisting the writer to redraft with renewed confidence. Lenny will lead each class and draw on his extensive knowledge of story, character, dialogue and the essential elements of script to help identify areas where each script could be improved. Over the duration of the course all students will come to a greater understanding of the craft through exposure to the work of their peers. When all students have presented the remaining classes will be given over to a review of selected sequences or passages of script which have been redrafted by students. Please note that additional class time will be arranged with instructor.

FLM 550 Teaching Practicum, Karen Offitzer
Thursdays, 5:20-8:10 pm (3 cr.)

This is a weekly seminar in teaching undergraduates at the University level, with special emphasis on creative writing, television writing, and filmmaking. This course plunges into the basics of pedagogy, exploring learning styles, discovering a teaching philosophy, designing syllabi for undergraduate courses, creating assignments and rubrics, and practicing these skills in a classroom setting. You’ll get hands-on experience and mentoring through visits to undergraduate classes and will gain an understanding of best practices for helping undergraduate students learn. (You need permission of the director and at least 6 program credits under your belt to take this class.)  Please note that additional class time will be arranged with instructor.



Login to Edit