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Creative Writing

Creative Writing classes

Advanced Revision Workshop

During this workshop, our instructor -- an experienced editor and writer -- will provide valuable constructive feedback for participants. Prior completion of all Creative Writing Certificate courses and instructor approval of work-in-progress required.

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

CLICK HERE FOR FIRST REQUIRED BOOK

CLICK HERE FOR SECOND REQUIRED BOOK

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

Crafting the Memoir

Our class will help you write your memoir with confidence through drafting, reading models and peer-evaluation. We’ll also identify potential strengths and weaknesses in your composition and then optimize your work through revisions and editing.

Sharing your collection of life’s memories can both illuminate and entertain your readers – our class will help you write your memoir with confidence. Through drafting, reading models and learning to peer-evaluate, you will maximize our class activities on (re)creating characters, deploying causality, and choosing your point of view, diction and theme for a specific audience. We’ll also identify potential strengths and weaknesses in your composition and then optimize your work through revisions and editing.

After completing this class, participants will be able to:
  • Employ their narrative craft to optimal (reader-expected) levels in memoir
  • Identify what’s working (or not working) in their memoir, and explain why
  • Revise their memoir, whole structure to word choice

Documentary Filmmaking for the Writer

Combine your fantastic ideas with creative writing skills as you identify the roles and talents required to succeed as an independent documentary filmmaker. Build experience with the elements of proposal writing: synopsis, treatment, pitch, and budget.

Interested in producing your own documentary? Combine your fantastic ideas with creative writing skills as you identify the roles and talents required to succeed as an independent filmmaker. Build hands-on experience with the critical elements of developing and writing a proposal, including the synopsis, treatment, pitch, and top budget sheet. Students will also explore various film types, analyze funding sources, and create a plan to begin shooting sample documentary-style interviews.

After completing this course, participants will be able to:
  • Distinguish between documentary and narrative films
  • Create strong ideas for your documentary film
  • Develop plan to produce your documentary film
  • Apply creative writing skills for documentary synopsis, treatment, and grant proposals
  • Analyze documentary films and funding
  • Present strong verbal and written pitches

English Refresher

Identify the principles of effective writing, basic mechanics, and correct usage. Via writing and grammar exercises, work to improve grammar and punctuation skills by learning how they work in the context of your own writing and that of professionals.

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.

CLICK HERE FOR REQUIRED BOOK

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

Essentials of Creative Writing

Hone your craft while learning tips for how to create compelling characters, snappy dialogue, and satisfying story structures -- work to write the kinds of narratives that will keep your reader fascinated from the first word to the last.

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

CLICK HERE FOR REQUIRED BOOK

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

Tap into the endless flexibility of your imagination by utilizing Surrealist techniques, methodologies and philosophies to generate and express wildly creative ideas. Readings and film clips help guide writers into crafting fresh and dynamic compositions.


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

Freelance Writing

Prepare for the creative and publishing processes in order to produce accurate and engaging stories. We will cover the basics of a successful pitch, working with editors, understanding the nature of assignments, and the many rewards of publishing.

You have a fantastic idea for a news story – but how do you carry that thought from proposal to published (and paid)? Media outlets need your content, and our Freelance Writing course prepares authors for the creative and publishing processes that result in accurate and engaging stories. We will cover the basics of a successful pitch, working with editors, understanding the fluid nature of editorial assignments, and the many rewards of publishing.

CLICK HERE FOR REQUIRED BOOK

After completing this course, writers will be able to:
  • Develop an original story to pitch to the media outlet of their choice
  • Write a pitch letter that resonates with editors and gatekeepers
  • Assemble the facts and media that tell the story
  • Write a compelling and accurate draft that fulfills the original pitch
  • Respond productively to edits—in structure, grammar, and style
  • Develop their own management tools to sustain freelance writing (rates, contracts, etc.)

Introduction to Screenwriting

We'll combine professional screenwriting formatting lessons and story structure to create entertaining and engaging screenplays. Successful students can develop dimensional characters and dynamic scenes while building the confidence to write a script.

Academy Award-winning films and blockbuster action movies all start with one critical core element: the script. Do you think you have a great idea? Join our class as we combine professional screenwriting formatting lessons and story structure in order to create entertaining and engaging screenplays. Successful students will be able to develop a strong premise, dimensional characters and dynamic scenes while building the confidence necessary to write a feature-length script. Our creative writing exercises will help you write short scenes for constructive peer/instructor evaluation in class.

CLICK HERE FOR SUGGESTED READING

CLICK HERE FOR SUGGESTED READING

CLICK HERE FOR SUGGESTED READING

After completing this course, participants will be able to:
  • Create strong premise for your screenplay
  • Analyze film scenes from script to screen
  • Present strong pitches
  • Demonstrate basic skills to write a professionally formatted screenplay
  • Prepare up to the first ten pages of feature length screenplay
  • Define important screenwriting competitions, fellowships, and representation

Narrative Medicine: Using Writing to Heal

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 and allowing you to deliver more compassionate care.


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

Narrative Writing Workshop

Explore the fundamental building blocks used to construct compelling novels, short stories, and creative nonfiction works. Each workshop will feature a mix of lectures, exercises, and peer feedback, offering practical advice in a supportive environment.


“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.

CLICK HERE FOR FIRST REQUIRED BOOK

CLICK HERE FOR SECOND REQUIRED BOOK

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

Poetry Workshop

Alexa Selph has been leading poetry workshops at Emory University and elsewhere for 13 years, and has been published in Poetry, the Connecticut Review, Smartish Pace, and Modern Haiku, as well as in several anthologies. No literature background required.

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.

The Business of Creative Writing: Navigating Your Next Steps

Investing in the work required for a writing submission (as well as successfully handling constructive criticism and rejection) are critical to achieving publication. Learn how to write a query letter with one goal: to make agents ask to read it.

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.

Humor and Comedy Writing

Taught by writers, directors, and producers who've been there and done that, we'll give you all the tools you need to create television's next comedy juggernaut—including how to pitch your show to the people who can actually make your dream happen. Tuition: $425.

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Wondering why TVs 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 who’ve been there and done that, this class will give you all the tools you need to create televisions next comedy juggernaut. (Except the jokes. You’ll need to supply those.)

After this class students will be able to:

  • Describe the fundamentals of writing sketch
  • Experiment with creating unique comedic characters through exaggerated flaws and through action
  • 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
  • Identify the various outlets for comedy variety writing and how to access these outlets
  • Summarize the differences between a monologue, desk piece, pre-tape, and presenter patter
  • Explain the structure of joke writing
  • Explore tips and techniques of writing for comedy and variety television which are employed by successful writers