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Course Catalog

Creative Writing

Creative Writing classes

Essentials of Creative Writing

Get your pen (or laptop keys) moving in this fast-paced introduction to creative writing. Through weekly lectures, readings, and opportunities to share your work in a supportive environment, you will begin to hone your craft, learning tips for how to create compelling characters, snappy dialogue, and satisfying story structures. Whether your dream is to write the Great American Novel or to capture true stories from your own life, this course will help you write the kinds of narratives that will keep your reader fascinated from the first word to the last.

After this class, you will be able to:
  • Describe characters (real or imagined) in compelling ways
  • Choose a narrator and point of view
  • Employ a variety of techniques to both “show and tell”
  • Craft effective dialogue
  • Design a narrative structure/plot
  • Experiment with different styles

Section: CWESSEN (24JUL18) -- Learn More...
Start Date: Jul 24, 2018 End Date: Aug 28, 2018 Tuition: $425.00
Campus: Executive Park Instructor: Tray Butler Register

Narrative Medicine: Using Writing to Heal

In this course, students will explore writing as a tool for healing. The focus is not to perfect any particular genre of writing, but to discover the compatibility of one or more forms of writing with further journeys toward healing upon which to embark. From a patient’s perspective, expressing your feelings and experiences through writing can help to confront emotions, fears and hopes. As a caregiver, the writing process may help ease the burden of stress while increasing empathy, allowing you to deliver more compassionate care.

After completing this course, participants will be able to:
  • Identify their issues of concern
  • Express that concern through writing
  • Engage in collaborative discussion, using effective observation, speaking and listening skills
  • Reflect on their concern, individually and collaboratively, in concrete ways
  • Assess and describe any change in perception of their original issues of concern
Section: WRITINGTOHEAL (13SEP18) -- Learn More...
Start Date: Sep 13, 2018 End Date: Oct 18, 2018 Tuition: $425.00
Campus: Executive Park Instructor: Anju Kanwar Register

Narrative Writing Workshop

“Ultimately, literature is nothing but carpentry,” novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez once observed. “With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood. Both are full of tricks and techniques.” This writing-intensive course takes a hands-on approach to the craft of storytelling, exploring the tools, materials, and mechanics used to construct powerful narratives, whether fictional (novels, short stories) or factual (memoir, personal essays).

Via readings and exercises, the class investigates the “tricks and techniques” employed by a range of modern masters and apply these lessons to perfecting works in progress. Each week, you’ll carefully read and critique classmate submissions, offering constructive feedback in an encouraging context. The course’s lectures and discussions will tackle difficulties that writers of all skill levels face: fine-tuning characters and dramatic arcs; organizing scenes and chapters; refining the tone, diction, and rhythm of your prose; cultivating your unique voice; and much more.

Whatever your literary passions or favorite genres, this workshop will breathe new life into your narratives and lift your creative craftsmanship to a new level.

It is recommended that students complete Essentials of Creative Writing before taking this course.



After completing this course, participants will be able to:
  • Discuss basic and advanced craft components of fiction and narrative nonfiction
  • Identify and employ successful storytelling techniques common in contemporary literature
  • Sharpen the syntax, pacing, and overall architecture of your narratives in progress
  • Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of writing “rules” championed by well-known authors
  • Give and receive constructive criticism in a respectful but rigorous workshop setting

Section: NARRATIVE (20JUN18) -- Learn More...
Start Date: Jun 20, 2018 End Date: Aug 1, 2018 Tuition: $425.00
Campus: Executive Park Instructor: Zoe Fishman Register
Section: NARRATIVE (01NOV18) -- Learn More...
Start Date: Nov 1, 2018 End Date: Dec 13, 2018 Tuition: $425.00
Campus: Executive Park Instructor: Zoe Fishman Register

Telling Our Stories: Writing Memoir

In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott says "good writing is about telling the truth...[but] telling the truth in an interesting way turns out to be as pleasurable as bathing a cat." Join us to learn more about the art of writing (and living) by sharing stories through the literary form memoir – no cat-bathing! We’ll read and analyze various writing styles of published memoirs to determine how these individual techniques contributed to the authenticity and enjoyment of the stories. Students may begin to write their own memoirs utilizing class workshops and peer review for revision purposes.


Throughout the course, participants will be involved in the following:
  • Reading published memoirs by an array of writers with different styles;
  • Examining the styles and form used by the writers to tell their stories;
  • Analyzing various writing styles to understand how the different techniques created the authenticity and enjoyment of those stories;
  • Conducting an analysis of how perspective can shape truth;
  • Beginning to write our own memoir;
  • Participating in class workshops and peer review to revise our memoir.

After completing this course, participants will be able to:
  • Describe the literary form memoir
  • Examine the range of writing styles used in published memoirs
  • Explore and identify possible themes for writing memoir
  • Practice writing memoir
  • Give and receive constructive feedback in a workshop setting
  • Revise writing based on constructive feedback
Section: WRITINGMEMOIR (12JUL18) -- Learn More...
Start Date: Jul 12, 2018 End Date: Aug 16, 2018 Tuition: $425.00
Campus: Executive Park Instructor: Jennifer Lentz Register

The Business of Creative Writing: Navigating Your Next Steps

Writing is a tough business with daunting odds. Yet in this digital age, when leveraged well, a writer has never had more power and opportunity. The Business of Creative Writing shows you how to identify your brand and build your platform, as well as to evaluate the commercial potential of your work and understand the paths toward monetizing your writing. Investing the time and work to make it as good as it can be, committing to the process, and persevering during the inevitable rejection you will encounter along the path are all crucial for success. So, too, is learning not to be defensive when criticized for the work into which you've poured your heart and soul.

This workshop will also cover traditional publishing vs. self-publishing and all the stops in between, including agents and query letters, rights and legal issues including copyright, tenacity vs. talent, formatting, content creation, social networking, writers conferences, author websites, blogging, the best ways to connect with other writers to create a support group, and embracing the writing life.

After this class, participants will be able to:

  • Identify their author platform and take the first steps toward building it.
  • Explain the differences between the various routes to publication.
  • Recognize pitfalls and scams associated with publication.
  • Access and use writing tools and resources, including blog and website-building, formatting and content creation tools.
  • Create a list of potential literary agents.
  • Write a polished query letter ready to be customized for each literary agent.
  • Build a support and/or critique group and learn how best to connect with the larger writing community.
Section: BUSOFWRITE (21JUL18) -- Learn More...
Start Date: Jul 21, 2018 End Date: Jul 28, 2018 Tuition: $425.00
Campus: Executive Park Instructor: Claire Cook Register

Workshopping Your Script: Fade IN, Fade OUT

Screenplays aren't meant to be read — instead, they serve as detailed blueprints for enlivening your project with elements including actors, directors, set decorators, prop masters, casting agents and more. Each of these players requires specifics from your script to function properly. Transform your beat sheet/outline into a well-paced screenplay with all of the necessary details — including competent filmic language for the large and/or small screen. Participants will workshop script pages in the process of fine-tuning their project.

It is recommended that before taking this course, participants complete Introduction to Screenwriting or have a fully fleshed-out screenplay idea from beginning to end.


Section: SCRIPTWKSHP (09JUN18) -- Learn More...
Start Date: Jun 9, 2018 End Date: Jul 14, 2018 Tuition: $425.00
Campus: Executive Park Instructor: Kevin Collins Register

Advanced Revision Workshop

Revision isn’t just about grammar and syntax — many other choices are critically important: Where should you begin your story or essay? What point of view should you use? What verb tense will work best? During this workshop, our instructor — an experienced editor and writer — will provide valuable constructive feedback for participants and their respective works.

This course is designed for students in the Creative Writing Certificate and must be completed last after all other required courses and electives. Please submit 4,000-8,000 words of your work-in-progress to Program Advisor Brent Buckley at brent.buckley@emory.edu prior to the first class for approval by the instructor.

Students not currently enrolled in the Creative Writing Certificate will be considered for admission to this course on a case-by-case basis; a 4,000-8,000 word writing sample must be submitted to Program Advisor Brent Buckley at brent.buckley@emory.edu prior to the first class for approval by the instructor.

Students must register no later than one week prior to the course start date. All writing samples must also be submitted no later than one week prior to the course start date to ensure sufficient time for approval of the writing sample.



After completing this course, participants will be able to:
  • Revise and polish your writing sample (4,000–8,000 words) after receiving constructive feedback from both peers and your instructor
  • Recognize that revision involves both the big picture and the small detail
  • Break down revision in a systematic way, by focusing on a strong beginning, maintaining narrative momentum, and choosing the best point of view for your story
  • Identify areas of your writing where you can add depth and texture through voice, atmosphere, dialogue, and character development
  • Recognize your strengths and weaknesses as you move forward with your writing
  • Recognize the importance of serious reading to your growth as a writer

English Refresher

Your confidence level will soar as we learn the principles of effective writing, basic mechanics, and correct usage in this class. Through formal instruction, writing and grammar exercises, and group editing, you will improve grammar and punctuation skills by learning how they work in the context of your own writing and that of professionals. Learning how to edit, revise, and proofread will give you such an incredible sense of self assurance about writing that you will wish you had taken this class years ago. Textbooks not included in tuition.


After this class, you will be able to:
  • Use your increased knowledge of English grammar
  • Know the eight parts of grammar
  • Use improved writing skills
  • Use improved vocabulary
  • Use increased reading skills

Expand Your Creativity – Writing Inspired by Surrealist Art, Film, and Poetry

Tap into the endless flexibility of your imagination by utilizing Surrealist techniques to generate and express your wildly creative ideas. Our course first works to understand Surrealist and related philosophies – then uses readings, art, film clips, games and methodologies from the Surrealist movement (plus light workshopping of pieces) to guide writers toward a greater understanding of how to dig deeply into their imaginations to craft fresh and dynamic compositions.

Upon completing this course, participants will be able to:
  • Define the Surrealist and Dadaist movements and their respective philosophies
  • Identify key historical and contemporary Surrealist and Dadaist writers, artists and filmmakers
  • Identify at least three techniques the Surrealists used to spark creativity.
  • Effectively employ at least three Surrealist techniques in their own prose or poetry writings
  • Effectively use Surrealist art, readings, and film clips as inspiration to produce poetry or prose that imaginatively expands the creative process
  • Effectively evaluate other participants’ creative writings to offer constructive critique

Humor and Comedy Writing

Wondering why TV’s big comedy lineup doesn’t quite…line up? Think you can do better? We agree -- that’s why we created this class. Our six-week workshop covers a wide variety of comedy genres including sketch, comedy/variety and scripted series, all culminating in a class that teaches you how to pitch your show to the people who can make it happen. Taught by writers, directors, and producers who’ve been there and done that, this class will give you all the tools you need to create television’s next comedy juggernaut. (Except the jokes. You’ll need to supply those.)

After this class students will be able to:

  • Understand the fundamentals of writing sketch
  • Generate unique comedic characters through exaggerated flaws and through action
  • Understand and practice methods of character transformation in sketch
  • Identify premise and structure a sketch around it
  • Practice how to heighten a sketch through identifying character goals and stakes
  • Become familiar with and identify the various outlets for comedy variety writing and how to access these outlets
  • Identify the differences between a monologue, desk piece, pre-tape, and presenter patter

Introduction to Screenwriting

Got a brilliant idea for a TV show or a movie -- but haven’t been able to work it into a finished project yet? Fully ‘fleshing out’ the story is critical -- we’ll tackle your ideas and expand them into robust stories. Join us to explore the intricacies of story development using the paradigm of 3-act mythic structure (and 6-acts for TV). Work on selecting well-defined themes, uncovering the true journey of protagonists as well as the specific steps of the intended character arc. Consider the advantages of knowing your story’s every twist and turn before you put the first word on paper.



Mystery Writing

Cozies. Police procedurals. Lone-wolf private eyes. The mystery genre takes on many forms, all of which sell briskly in the marketplace and retain long shelf-lives. No mystery about that! The human race (nosy by nature) wants to know whodunit and why, with shivers and a few laughs along the way. Class will focus on planting clues, fishing for red herrings, hanging from cliffs, the ‘reveal’ and other elements of the mystery novel. Examples from masters of the genre, as well as exercises and assignments, help students uncover vital secrets of writing a mystery story that will keep readers awake and turning pages all night.

After completing this program, participants should be able to:
  • Begin developing a sleuth character
  • Practice creating tension within stories
  • Experiment with mood and setting
  • Choose relevant current or historical events to include
  • Plant clues without spoiling the surprise

Poetry Workshop

Alexa Selph has been leading poetry workshops at Emory and elsewhere for the past twelve years. Her poems have been published in Poetry, the Connecticut Review, Smartish Pace, Modern Haiku, and in several anthologies. These workshops require no background in literature. Detailed course descriptions can be seen by clicking on the section.

Science Fiction Workshop: Heroes, Myths, and Monsters

Speculative fiction — encompassing fantasy, science fiction, and horror — is a realm of paradox. An idea-driven literature that’s as vast as imagination, it can also be peculiarly compartmentalized and too often dismissed as escapism. Novelist Margaret Atwood describes the category as “wonder tales,” stories that pull readers into astonishing other worlds “on the other side of the threshold that divides the known from the unknown.” This course surveys the mysterious landscape of these “what if?” narratives, exploring the mythic connections between ancient epics, supernatural beasts, and futuristic space odysseys. We’ll evaluate the craft components in works by Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Angela Carter, Octavia Butler, Isaac Asimov, and Karen Russell, among others. The second hour of each session will be devoted to critiquing classmate submissions and sharing strategies on how to build your own captivating worlds of wonder.



After completing this course, participants will be able to:
  • Describe the historical roots of today’s fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres
  • Recognize and discuss the distinctions between the major categories and overlapping subgenres
  • Hone the craft of creating credible and compelling speculative fiction
  • Give and receive constructive feedback in a supportive workshop setting

Writing Freelance

Magazine and newspaper articles, ads, speeches, even greeting cards--variety is the essence and joy of freelancing. Learn writing tips that catch an editor's eye, survival techniques, and the mysteries of marketing. Classes include shake-loose exercises/assignments. Your instructor writes and edits for magazines and other clients on topics such as decorative arts, health, travel, business, and human interest.