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Course Catalog

Creative Writing Elective Courses

Creative Writing elective courses.

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.

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Section: SCRNINTRO (13JUL17) -- Learn More...
Start Date: Jul 13, 2017 End Date: Aug 17, 2017 Tuition: $425.00
Campus: Executive Park Instructor: Kevin Collins Register

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:
  • Recognize the characteristics of and practice developing a sleuth character
  • Practice creating tension within stories
  • Experiment with mood and setting
  • Utilize current or historical events
  • Select and plant clues -- without spoiling the surprise
Section: MYSTERY (10JUL17) -- Learn More...
Start Date: Jul 10, 2017 End Date: Aug 14, 2017 Tuition: $425.00
Campus: Executive Park Instructor: Linda E Clopton Register

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.
Section: POETWRKSHP (24OCT17) -- Learn More...
Start Date: Oct 24, 2017 End Date: Dec 05, 2017 Tuition: $375.00
Campus: Executive Park Instructor: Alexa Selph Register

Blogging: Effective Writing for Your Personal or Professional Blog

If you have a message to share, a cause to promote, a business to grow — or if you just love to write and express yourself — a blog is an essential tool. Blogging is a great way to connect with your audience (or customers), to perfect your message, and to grow as a communicator. Blogging can help writers to hone their craft, find their voice, and build a loyal readership. And yes, blogging can be profitable — and fun! This course is suitable both for beginners and for those who already have a blog but want to maximize its potential.

After this class, you will be able to:
  • Identify objectives for their blog, and the tools necessary for reaching their goals.
  • Write and promote an effective blog post.
  • Use tools such as social media and email to grow your readership.

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

Inspirational Nonfiction Writing

Books with spiritual themes — from traditional religious writing to more fluid “new age” literature — remain one of the most vibrant and popular of nonfiction genres. But writing about faith, belief and spiritual experience poses unique challenges for both aspiring and seasoned authors. How do you proclaim your message, without sounding preachy or dogmatic? What elements are necessary to make a book interesting, compelling, and spiritually nurturing? How do you navigate the challenges when writing about controversial or innovative ideas? What are the keys to making your work attractive to editors? As the author of more than a dozen inspirational books, Carl McColman will help you to define your mission, hone your voice, and prepare your work for submission to editors or agents. This class is taught from a non-sectarian perspective: any kind of inspirational writing is welcome here. And while it is oriented toward writers seeking publication, the principles of inspirational writing can be beneficial for bloggers and journal-keepers as well.

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After completing this class, participants will be able to:
  • Understand the unique challenges in writing inspirational nonfiction.
  • Clarify your message and shape it to effectively reach your audience.
  • Recognize problem areas in your writing and how to address them.
  • Identify the best approach to publishing and reaching your audience.

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.

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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.

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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.

Writing the Touchstone Moment: The Art of the Personal Essay

These are the moments that make life worthwhile—and they also make good material for writing. Want to capture a moment for your own enjoyment, pass on a memory to loved ones, or launch a professional writing career? Our class will introduce you to the principles of structure and the elements of craft that underlie all good writing – as well as resources for finding potential venues for publication. Our workshop format will include short essay readings, weekly writing assignments, and constructive feedback.

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After this course, students will be able to:

  • Choose incidents from their lives that have the best chance of becoming successful personal essays
  • Structure their work effectively
  • Evaluate, revise, and polish their own work based principles of concise, vivid, dynamic writing
  • Choose a publishing venue to submit to