Creative Writing I

CWRI 295/3.0


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 Department based on 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 must be submitted to the Department ( 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.

Learning Outcomes

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.


Winter 2023
Course Dates
Delivery Mode


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%
  • There is no final exam.

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

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:  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.

Instructor Information

Professor Emily Vanderploeg

Instructor Message

I am a practising writer of fiction and poetry, and I love connecting with students through their creative work. For nine years, I was the Academic Assistant to Professor Carolyn Smart on CWRI 295, and took over as course instructor in 2021. I am a Queen’s alumna, BA(Hons) English Language and Literature; Art History (ArtSci ’06), and I completed teacher’s college as an English and Drama teacher at the Institute of Education at University College London. I also received my MA and PhD in Creative Writing at Swansea University in Wales, where I live. I am a poet, novelist, and short story writer, and the distinction between the latter two forms was the focus of my doctoral research. I look forward to welcoming you to CWRI 295 and seeing your creative writing practice bloom and grow over the course of the semester.

Dr. Emily Vanderploeg is a writer of fiction and poetry. She received a BA(Hons) in English and Art History from Queen’s University, completed teacher’s college at the Institute of Education at University College London, and received an MA and PhD in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Wales. Her writing has been published in both Canada and the UK in various literary magazines, shortlisted for the Arc Poem of the Year Award, and longlisted for the Women Poets’ Prize. Emily is a novelist and short story writer, which was also the focus of her doctoral practice and research. Her poetry pamphlet, Loose Jewels, won the Cinnamon Press Pamphlet Competition and was published in 2020, and her debut collection of poetry, Strange Animals, was published in 2022 by Parthian Books. Originally from Aurora, Ontario, she currently lives in Swansea, Wales.

Textbook and Materials

ASO reserves the right to make changes to the required material list as received by the instructor before the course starts. Please refer to the Campus Bookstore website at to obtain the most up-to-date list of required materials for this course before purchasing them.

Course Notes

Students will obtain their course notes and assignments from the course onQ site beginning the first day of term.

Recommended Textbook

  • "What If?" Exercises and Stories for Fiction Writers, By: Bernays, Publisher: Pearson Longman.
  • The Mind's Eye, by Kevin Clark, Publisher: Pearson Longman.

Note: 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.

Additionally, the Canadian Poetry Online site will be our poetry resource.

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/TA’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 from resources provided within the course.

Students can expect to spend 120 hours on CWRI 295 over the course of the term.