|CU Home||School of the Arts||Search | Directory | Help|
The Creative Writing Program at Columbia offers intensive workshops at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, and senior levels. We also offer craft seminars in creative writing that are designed to examine literature from a practitioner’s perspective.
Please click here for information about the requirements for the creative writing major.
Students in the workshops produce original works of fiction, poetry, or nonfiction, and submit them to their classmates and professor for a close critical analysis. Workshop critiques (which include a detailed written report, as well as thorough line-edits) assess the mechanics and merits of the piece of writing, while individual conferences with the professor distill the various critiques into a direct plan of action to improve the work. A student writer develops by practicing the craft under the diligent critical attention of his or her peers and professor. This dynamic is meant to continually assist the student writer toward new levels of creative endeavor.
Beginning Fiction, Poetry, or Nonfiction Workshop (3 pts)
This course is open to all students, and offers sections in fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. Admission is decided by lottery. Beginning workshops are designed for students who have little or no previous experience writing literary texts in a particular genre. Students are introduced to a range of technical and imaginative concerns through exercises and discussions, and eventually produce their own writing for the critical analysis of the class.
Intermediate Fiction, Poetry, or Nonfiction Workshop (3 pts)
Permission required. Admission by writing sample. Enrollment limited to 15 students. This course can be repeated in fulfillment of the major.
Intermediate workshops are for students with some experience with creative writing, and whose prior work merits admission to the class (as judged by the professor). With sections in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, the intermediate workshops present a higher creative standard than beginning workshops, and increased expectations to produce finished work. By the end of the semester, each student will have produced at least seventy pages of original fiction or non-fiction, or twenty original poems.
Advanced Fiction, Poetry, or Nonfiction Workshop (3 pts)
Prerequisite: Intermediate Workshop, or equivalent experience. Permission required. Admission by writing sample. Enrollment limited to 15 students. This course can be repeated in fulfillment of the major.
Building on the work of the Intermediate Workshop, Advanced workshops are reserved for the most gifted creative writing students. A significant body of writing must be produced and revised. Students in the advanced workshops will have taken several courses in the major already (workshops and seminars), and they bring their additional literary experience and knowledge to the classroom, which at once raises the level of discourse and potential for achievement.
Senior Creative Writing Workshop in Fiction, Poetry, or Nonfiction (4 pts)
This course is restricted to seniors who are majors in creative writing. Enrollment is limited, and is by permission of the professor. The senior workshop offers students the opportunity to work exclusively with classmates who are at the same high level of accomplishment in the major. Students in the senior workshops will produce and revise a new and substantial body of work. This course will only be offered by graduate faculty professors.
Structure and Style (3 pts)
This seminar explores prose, drama, and verse as related disciplines. While each genre has its particular opportunities and demands, all can utilize such devices as narrative, dialogue, imagery, and description (scenes, objects, and thought processes). Through a wide variety of readings and writing exercises, we will examine and explore approaches to language, ways of telling a story (linear and nonlinear), and how pieces are constructed. Some student work will be briefly workshopped.
Playwriting (3 pts)
Playwriting is taught as a workshop and is designed for students who have an interest in dialogue, the construction of the dramatic scene, and playwriting as a literary and performance art form. Attention is given to the ways in which playwriting techniques might be applied to work in other genres. Students will be assigned exercises in conflict, rhythm, dialogue, character, and the development of material. Students will be expected to produce approximately seventy pages of dramatic writing. This work can be composed of several independent scenes or of sequential scenes that build to a one-act play.
Filmwriting (3 pts)