Creative Writing

Creative Writing is the fastest-growing emphasis and minor in the English Department. If reading novels or poetry, or attending movies or even playing video games, has expanded the way you see the world, so that you want to have a like effect on those around you by joining the ranks of your favorite authors--then this is the emphasis/minor for you. Creative writers are of many types, but all have active and lively imaginations, seeing the world as a broad expanse of possibilities waiting to be expressed via “the best words in the best order.”

There can never be too many stories, too many poems, too many beautiful or hilarious or provocative ways to record, project, and anticipate the world in words. Creative writing teaches close reading, written and verbal analysis, critical thinking and problem solving, collaboration, innovation, and organizational and research skills. It requires attention to and respect for history, humanity, and diverse personalities, cultures, and communities. It develops empathy and self-awareness as well as other-awareness; and it makes imperative a deep and (dare we say it?) loving relationship to the pliancy of language. Best of all, it demands that you engage with and exercise that most basic human power, your imagination, in such a way that you reach others (yes, we do talk about the publishing world and the processes that lead to publication) and make the kind of difference that you’ve experienced yourself, through books.

The varieties of prose and poetry, the applications of dialogue and image, the functions of metaphor in daily life and in the life of the mind—these are the subject and practice of this emphasis and minor. To declare Creative Writing your “thing” is to join a community of like-minded artists learning the surface techniques and deep, human skills of changing the world through creating literature.


  • What kinds of writing are “creative”?
  • What techniques and attitudes of mind allow us to successfully reproduce experience through words that others will read?
  • What are the differences, in structure, look, and content between the various poetry and prose forms? Why do they matter?
  • How do we help each other revise so that our work reaches its greatest potential? That is, how do we most constructively learn to give and receive feedback on our work?
  • How do we enter the ranks of published authors?
  • How can we contribute to the literature of the communities we belong to?
  • How has the web and digital production of texts changed what it means to compose, to read, and to be persuasive?


The introductory creative writing course provides coverage of principles and techniques that pertain across the genres: imagery; character development, voice, and point of view; narrative design and pacing; establishment of place and time; and always, always, the flexibility and versatility of language as your medium. Intermediate courses in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction provide safe and exciting spaces to generate work, as you read, write, and workshop in your preferred (and one other) genre. Two advanced courses are required, one semester for further generation of work and one for polishing and preparing for publication. Genre studies courses are taught with writerly questions in mind, since the more you read in your genre, of course, the more fully prepared you are to contribute to the ongoing conversation spoken across centuries and continents by those who write.

Fortunately, too, all Creative Writing minors must take a variety of literature and language courses, for literature and language are the foundation of all further work. Even (maybe especially) writers stand on the shoulders of our forebears.


  • Copywriter
  • Creative Nonfictionist (memoirist, biographer, cultural critic & commentator)
  • Consultant
  • Dramatist
  • Editor
  • Educator
  • Freelance Writer/Consultant
  • Marketing specialist
  • Novelist
  • Poet
  • Pre-Professional Preparation for law school, business school, and other advanced degrees
  • Reviewer
  • Screenwriter
  • Short Story Writer
  • Writing Coach