Behind every good writer is an exceptional reader. Behind every exceptional writer is a brilliant observer. Behind every brilliant writer is a child of the world, invested with all their senses, quizzical, analytical, brave. These are our goals, in this class as well as in our lives as working artists. We seek to be exceptional, brilliant, brave, and in order to achieve these goals we will have to learn how to be diligent and driven. We will have to learn the principles of craft—when to utilize them and when to break their rules— and we will have to learn the principles of our own aesthetic—our strengths, our crutches, our habits. In this class we will experience literature, that of our classmates and of contemporaneous and great past masters, from the perspective of writers instead of solely as students. Our understanding will be that, much as Eliot describes in his metaphorical sculpture garden, the process of literature is an ongoing conversation as apt to be affected by what has come before as by what will happen in the future. Over the course of the year, our voices will become increasingly knowledgeable and nuanced and contribute, each in their separate way, to that conversation. As Samuel Beckett once said, "Try again. Fail again. Fail better."


Course Descriptions: 

Creative Writing I—Principles of Language

 Content: Creative Writing I is designed to focus on the basic principles of each of the three main writing genres: Poetry, Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction in the first three units with a final unit on Editing Toward Completion. The concepts included in this course are basic principles of sound; basic principles of rhythm and rhyme scheme; narrative arc; basic principles of rhetoric. Students are asked to explore craft concepts in each genre and, in the fourth unit, to edit to completion one poem, one story and one creative non-fiction piece begun in a previous unit.

 Prerequisite: Placement portfolio and audition

 

 Creative Writing II—Principles of Form

 Content: Knowledge of essential literary terms and concepts will build on the base acquired in Creative Writing I to include use of basic figurative language, forms of poetry, narrative points of view, character development and rhetorical perspective. In the fourth unit students will explore concepts of Editing and Revision and begin to research Publishing.

 Prerequisite: Creative Writing I or equivalent experience as determined by placement portfolio and audition.

  

Creative Writing III (Honors)—Application of Figurative Language

 Content: The student will acquire the ability to apply advanced principles of figurative language within the three major writing genres: Poetry, Fiction and Creative Nonfiction. These will include: Figures of Thought; Figures of Speech; Rhetorical Strategies; Narration; and Structure. In the fourth unit students will work on Editing and Revising a small collection of work from one of the genres. All students in this class will become Readers for Crashtest

 Prerequisites: Creative Writing I and II, or equivalent experience as determined by placement portfolio and audition.

 

Creative Writing IV (Honors)—Literary Forms

Content: The student will apply knowledge acquired in Creative Writing III—Application of Figurative Language to the study of historic and contemporary forms in American Literature. This will involve the study of poetic forms and fiction forms such as novels, the novella, the short story and flash fiction. The third unit will focus on memoir, personal narrative, investigative personal essay, new journalism and the meta-essay. In the fourth unit students will edit and revise a portfolio of multiple works from all three genres. All students in this class will become Readers for Crashtest with weekly individual editorial duties and the option of running for an editorial position.

Prerequisites: Creative Writing III (Honors).


Creative Writing V (Honors)—Long Form Writing

Content: Using their understanding of craft and historical literary development, the student will complete a book length work in one of the three major genres: poetry, fiction or creative non-fiction. The student will design, structure and implement a book length collection of poetry (48 completed poems, minimum), short fiction (150 pages minimum), novella duet (two novellas of 80 pages each minimum) or novel prospectus (the first 50 pages and a completed plot outline with a minimum of four sample scenes). In addition to the completed creative work, each student in this class will also keep a weekly process journal (min. of 50 pages) which will be due at the end of the year.

Prerequisites: Creative Writing III (Honors), Creative Writing IV (Honors)


Creative Writing VI (Honors)—Careers in Publishing

Content: Students in this course will study advanced principles of publishing, building on the basic principles explored in Creative Writing III and Creative Writing IV through publication projects and experience as Readers, Genre Editors or Design Editors for Crashtest, the Creative Writing department’s online magazine for high school age writers and artists. Students in this course will occupy the roles of Managing Editors or Social Media Editors for Crashtest and will be involved in the day-to-day decision making process for the magazine. Students will also be responsible for organizing the FAC Reading Series: identifying and communication with potential guest artists, establishing the schedule of events and working together with the instructor to write small grants to provide travel expenses and fees for the artists involved.

Prerequisites: Creative Writing III (Honors), Creative Writing IV (Honors)