Creative Writing

CWRI 295/3.0

A practical examination of creative writing skills, focused on the writing workshop. The student may concentrate on short fiction or poetry, or combination of the two, throughout the term. Admission is based on writing samples.

Description

This online creative writing course is an introduction to the art of composing fiction and poetry. Students submit independent creative work to the instructor and to their classmates for feedback and read and respond to their classmates' writing. All writings and course materials are shared electronically via website and email. The course is designed to help students write regularly and to enjoy writing. By sharing work in progress, students learn from and support one another and develop critical judgment. They also practice computer and internet skills and become comfortable working online.

This is a limited-enrolment courses for which students may not pre-register. Admission is by permission of the instructor, Carolyn Smart, based on her assessment of writing samples. Submission materials should include either a recently-completed short story or non-rhyming poem, a cover letter describing your reasons for wanting to take the course, and your student number, and may be submitted in two ways: to the Department of English in hard copy, or as an MS Word attachment to the instructor (smartc@queensu.ca). Early submission is encouraged. Successful applicants will find the course listed on SOLUS during the pre-registration period.

The online postings of student writing will be the primary texts for this course. You will need a good dictionary and thesaurus, and you may find a grammar book helpful. The Canadian Poetry Online site will be our poetry resource.

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor

Admission is based on writing samples.

Evaluation

This course is in an online workshop format, and students are expected to contribute each week. Since this is a workshop and feedback is important, students should plan to be online at least twice a week. Participation in at least 80% of the course is mandatory.

  • Creative writing workshop participation – 50%
  • 5 assignments (10% each) – 50%
  • Two reviews – not graded, but must be submitted to pass the course
  • There is no final exam.

Note concerning the Creative Writing Workshop: You will post several examples of new, "finished" writing you have done for this course  and worked on with care and considerable attention. Writing you submitted to previous workshops or other classes (including high school) is unacceptable. The page distribution will be as follows:

  • Either: 2 short stories – 5 pages minimum for each
  • Or: 4 poems
  • Or: 1 short story and 2 poems

These pieces will be posted on-line and the whole class will respond.

Five Assignments and Two Reviews:  Five times during the term I will assign you stories to read from your text or poems to read online. You will be expected to write a story or poem of your own along the lines of the work you are reading. These will be seen by me and marked. They are for my eyes only, not for the response of your classmates.

In addition to these five assignments, you will be responsible for the following two special assignments:

  1. One review from a writer's viewpoint of literature in performance (a public reading by an author of his or her work, a play, etc.)
  2. A  written review of a current Canadian book – either a novel, a collection of short stories, a personal memoir, or a poetry collection or anthology. I’d prefer these NOT to be best sellers, but rather "small press" publications, and the work of new ("emerging") writers.

Topics

Learning Outcomes

  • CWRI 295 Online should help you write regularly, to bring more sharply refined skills to the reading of your own work, and teach you to edit yourselves with a more clearly intuitive, finely practiced eye.
  • It should also encourage you to read literature as the examples offered for exercises are broad ranging.
  • By sharing work-in-progress, students will learn from and support one another, and begin to develop critical judgment.
  • You will also practice computer and Internet skills and become comfortable working online.

Instructor

Hi everyone:

I will be your instructor this term, and I hope you'll enjoy this class as much as I enjoy overseeing it. Please refer to me as Carolyn when you write emails -- I'm a professional writer, not an academic, and prefer an informal approach.

I hope that you'll try to push your writing into new areas this term: take chances with your forms and language; explore what you can do with words. Be hard on yourself: cut clichés; beware of sentimentality; avoid the easy approach. Take this opportunity to break from essay writing and throw yourself into this with gusto.

Try to respond to your fellow writers with respect, but be tough, too. Go beyond the simple commentary of "I really like this story/poem" to say what exactly you liked about it, or how you think it could be better, with specific examples. You will only learn how to be a better writer through an honest, open response. I've published both prose and poetry, and feel comfortable in both genres. I understand completely if you would prefer to stick with one or the other, but I want you to respond to both with open minds.

See you online!
Carolyn Smart, Watson Hall 529
smartc@queensu.ca

You can learn a lot about me on the Canadian Poetry Online site, the website of the Writers’ Union of Canada, or the Queen’s University English Department website.

Time Commitment

You should expect to spend at least one hour per day on the site. This will mostly involve reading your group's postings and responding to them thoroughly, shortly after they are posted. More time will go into your own ongoing creative work for posting on the site, and more time still on your five assignments (for the instructor's eyes only) which are due roughly every two weeks throughout the term.  The assignments will involve some research, either in the text, "What If?" or online through individual research into the forms you will be attempting to use in your assignments. Don't forget your two reviews, which should be creative and fun.

Course Resources

About SOLUS

SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About MOODLE

Moodle is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into Moodle to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the Moodle site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a good-quality computer (Windows XP/Vista/7, Pentium III, or Mac OS X 10.5, G4 or G5 processor, 256 MB RAM) with a high-speed internet connection, soundcard, speakers, and microphone, and up-to-date versions of free software (Explorer/Firefox, Java, Flash, Adobe Reader). See also Preparing For Your Course.

Dates/Deadlines

The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Dates and Deadlines section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for 2014-15 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Canadian students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $605.31; for a 6.0-unit course, $1210.62. See also Tuition and Payment.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point
A+4.30
A4.00
A-3.70
B+3.30
B3.00
B-2.70
C+2.30
C2.00
C-1.70
D+1.30
D1.00
D-0.70
F0.00

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.