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The Creative Writing Concentration is designed to serve the student who is certain that he or she will continue to write beyond graduation, whether in a graduate program, a profession, for publication or personal satisfaction. Distinguished from professional writing and argumentative writing, this concentration invites the student to investigate emotions and perceptions, and craft language through imagination. The creative writing student should also avail himself or herself of the numerous publishing opportunities provided by the department and college, and attend events where professional creative writers are featured.

The program may lead to graduate study in publishing and, especially, in creative writing. Upon completion of the program, students should have a portfolio of creative work suitable for submission to MFA programs. The creative writing concentration consists of both the departmental requirements for the English major and additional courses specifically designed to teach and enlarge writing, reviewing and editing skills. Many creative writing classes include a service learning component. During their studies, creative writing students take a required course in magazine production for firsthand editorial experience. Students must also intern within the fields of writing, publishing or editing during the junior or senior year. All students will give a public reading of their work in their final semester of study.
These are the Major Requirements for the Creative Writing Concentration (30 credits)
EL 110 Introduction to Creative Writing 3
2 genre courses 6
Four 300-level Period/Figure** courses including
One course in American Literature 3
Two courses in British or European Literature before the 19th century 6
One course in British or European Literature after the 18th century 3
Workshop courses in Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction 9
EL 400 Senior Project in Creative Writing 3

These are extra Concentration Requirements for the Creative Writing Concentration
EL 207 Creative Thinking/Critical Thinking 3
2 courses, in any combination, from Studio Art, electronic Media, or Music Performance (a series of one-credit course is also acceptable) 6
Writing internship 3
Free electives 13 credits
Aside from the course sequence, this Concentration requires specific work to be focused on during the Junior Seminar and Senior Project:

1. Critical Preface: All students completing a Creative Writing Project are required to craft a 6-8 page Critical Preface in which they address the following:

a. An articulation of their understanding of the conventions of the form/genre in which they write. For example, students might supply their own definition of how the short story works as a genre or form, drawing examples from contemporary and classic literature, literary criticism and theory, etc.

b. A description of the writers/works read in conjunction with the writing of the project, and a description of what those writers/works have revealed to them about craft. Students should plan to "close read" a few texts as examples and evidence.

c. A description of their own writing/drafting process, including a detailed account of the revisions made to one or more stories, essays, or poems. Students may describe their writing process in general, but they should also describe the successive revisions made to a story/poem/essay in the draft that enabled them to exercise their authority over the writing. In this description, they should make clear their intentions as an author and their efforts to approach story/poetry/creative nonfiction writing as a conscious literary construction.

2. The Creative Work

General Guidelines for Prose: 20-25 pages, including two or more stories or essays. The material must be literary realism. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance that follow the typical conventions of formula fiction in those genres are unacceptable. It would be acceptable for a student to work in the traditions of magical realism, but their reading list must include a mixture of realism and magical realism.

Short fiction for the Project should be character-driven work that seeks to describe and dramatize tensions, conflicts, and problems related to the complexities of human experience. In other words, the works should aspire to be literary. Minimally, the student writer should display a mastery of the concepts and conventions of fiction such characterization, story shape and structure, point of view, scenic writing, fictional place and time, and the usage of imagery, detail, and description (free of cliches and commonplaces) to reach beneath the “literal level” of the piece and convey some thematic meaning or significance. Ideally the piece will show mastery of several of these elements of the writing craft. Prose should be clean and free of grammatical and technical errors.

Personal essays and memoirs (20-25 pp) should reveal a skillful blend of the techniques of fiction (characterization, scenic writing, plot, fictional place and time), and an effort to convey, with intelligence and clarity, the meaning and significance of the events described. The writing should take care to avoid self-indulgence and solipsism, working instead to present and discuss the events in the writer's experience in such a way as to engage the reader; in other words, the student should some how find links to universal themes and chords in the examination of his/her personal experience. Personal essays should demonstrate a knowledge of the form; memoirs should do the same. This list includes but is not limited to personae, exchange of subjectivities, and the technique of reflection, meditation, and analysis.

Guidelines for Poetry: 12-15 pages of poetry, including one long poem (40 lines or more). The poetry should cover a variety of subjects and themes;that is, a student may not turn in only love poems or odes to a place, etc. The poetry should also demonstrate an awareness of, and skill in using, a variety of poetic forms--open verse and formal verse (i.e., a sonnet, villanelle, pantoum, etc). The poetry must be written with close attention to the following: line and stanza break, sound, rhyme, meter, imagery, personae, etc. Poems should avoid sentimentality, cliche, and commonplace. The poems should be coherent and respect the reader's aesthetic and intellectual sensibilities, striving to communicate or connect in a way that reveals something interesting.

3. Bibliography of works read during the completion of the project, including any literary or aesthetic criticism, literary theory, essay on form and craft, etc.

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