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Catalogue: Traditional Program:
Creative Writing

Creative Writing (CRW)

Professor R. Smith, Chair

The mission of the creative writing department at Belhaven University is to train student writers to examine the world from a biblical perspective and engage the world for Christ through their gift for writing. In the program, students learn to see the writing life as a high calling and writing as one tool for unraveling the mysteries of creation and human experience. Overall, the department imparts a biblical understanding of creativity in general and creative writing in particular, focusing on God's gift of language to humans as one means of subduing creation and thus fulfilling the cultural mandate found in Genesis 1:28.

Practically speaking, the program seeks-through a variety of activities such as workshops, literature courses, practicum experiences, and internship opportunities-to produce disciplined wordsmiths who write clearly, concisely, correctly, and creatively. Graduates of the program should be qualified to pursue graduate study and careers in writing and publishing. Most importantly, graduates will be writers who are equipped both to look at and speak to the world from a biblical perspective.

The creative writing department offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and a minor in creative writing.

The BFA in creative writing includes the following requirements (52 hours):

CWR 132 and 133
CWR 199 (4 semesters)
CWR 211
CWR 324 or 325
CWR 304, 305, 306, 482, or THE 310 (9 hours)
CWR 480
CWR 481
CWR 494 or 495
CWR Elective (3 hours of 300- or 400-level writing workshops, including THE workshops: 310, 410, 412)
ENG 121 or its equivalent (ENG 101 and 102)
ENG 302
ENG Elective (9 hours of 400-level literature courses)
GDS 110/111, COM 203, or COM 420
PHI 275

In addition, a foreign language must be completed through the intermediate level (202), or two languages through the beginning level.

The minor in creative writing includes the following requirements (24 hours):

CWR 199 (4 semesters)
CWR 211
CWR 304, 305, 306, 482, or THE 310 (9 hours)
CWR 481
ENG 121 or its equivalent (ENG 101 and 102)
ENG 302
PHI 275

Creative Writing Honors Program: The following courses in the major may be taken as honors courses: CWR 211, 304, 305, 306, 324, 325, 482, THE 310, and any 400-level literature course. The BFA student must complete 12 hours of honors courses from the above list, six hours of honors courses from the worldview curriculum, and three hours of honors courses from the following courses: COM 203, COM 420, ENG 302, ENG 303, GDS 111/220, and PHI 275.

Enrollment in the creative writing major or minor requires an ACT score of 22 or higher in reading and English. Further, all applicants must submit a portfolio of at least twelve to fifteen pages of creative writing to the department chair for evaluation. Thus, all admits to the program are juried. Students who do not initially meet the department's entrance requirements may be admitted provisionally. The performance of provisionally admitted students will be reviewed after two semesters, resulting in one of the following outcomes: cleared for continuation in the program without provisional status, cleared for continuation with provisional status and further review after one year, not cleared for continuation.

All majors and minors in the writing program will submit a portfolio at the end of their sophomore year for evaluation by the creative writing faculty. Based on the quality of this portfolio, students will be cleared for continuation in the writing program or counseled about other major or minor options.

For graduation, each creative writing major and minor must produce a senior thesis (a substantial creative work such as a collection of stories, poems, or nonfiction essays) and successfully defend that work before a faculty panel. A public reading of the thesis is also required. In addition, each senior must write and defend a research paper explaining his or her philosophy of aesthetics and composition and linking that philosophy to important developments in the history of both traditional and biblical aesthetics. Creative Writing students will have real-world experience through internships, CWR 494 and 495.

By graduation, creative writing students should demonstrate the following skills and abilities:

  1. Well-developed creative and critical thinking skills.
  2. A broad understanding of creative writing in relation to historical and cultural contexts, especially the biblical worldview and the development of Western civilization and literature.
  3. A mastery of various literary forms and styles in genres as diverse poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and scriptwriting.
  4. The ability to give and receive constructive feedback on writing.
  5. A mastery of the tools of all good writing: grammar, punctuation, mechanics, spelling, syntax, focus, organization, development, and style.
  6. A deep appreciation of the ways in which creative activities such as writing allow humans to uncover the wonders of a world charged with meaning and the brokenness of a world marred by sin and suffering.

 

132 Principles of Editing (2). Prereq: Instructor-s permission.
An introductory course designed to teach the fundamentals of publication editing, design, and production. The laboratory and backdrop for this course is the Belhaven University literary journal, the Brogue. Students will meet weekly for lecture, discussion, and staff work. Typically, The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) will be the text for the course, and students will be graded on their adherence to the Manual in their editorial work. Students pursuing the BFA in creative writing must complete at least one semester of CWR 132, but may take additional semesters for elective credit. (Fall only)
133 Procedures in Publishing (2). Prereq: Instructor-s permission.
Designed to teach the fundamentals of publication design and production. The laboratory and backdrop for this course is the Belhaven University literary journal, the Brogue. Students will meet weekly for lecture, discussion, and staff work. Texts for this course will include The Chicago Manual of Style and overviews of the publishing industry that address history, procedures, and current developments. Students pursuing the BFA in creative writing must complete at least one semester of CWR 133, but may take additional semesters for elective credit. (Spring only)
199 Creative Writing Colloquy (0). Limited to creative writing majors and minors. Prereq: CWR 211.
Informal weekly meeting for the purpose of discussing works in progress. Participants will bring drafts of current works and discuss them under the direction of a creative writing instructor. Four semesters required for creative writing majors and minors. Grade limited to Credit or No Credit. Limited to 6 students. (Fall and spring)
211 Introduction to Creative Writing (3).
Designed for students interested in learning and practicing the craft of creative writing, including writing poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Includes discussion of the biblical foundations for creative expression through words and of the Christian writer-s responsibility to art, society, self, and God. Workshop format. Limited to 12 students. (Fall only)
304 Advanced Poetry Writing (3). Prereq: CWR 211.
Designed for students interested in practicing advanced techniques of writing poetry in both traditional and open forms. Covers topics including line, form, meter, sound, image, and figurative language. Requires students to submit poems for publication and to participate in a public poetry reading. Workshop format. Limited to 12 students. (Spring only)
305 Advanced Fiction Writing (3). Prereq: CWR 211.
Designed for students interested in practicing advanced techniques of writing fiction. Covers topics including point of view, character, setting, plot, dialogue, and voice. Requires students to submit stories for publication and to participate in a public fiction reading. Workshop format. Limited to 12 students. (Fall only)
306 Advanced Nonfiction Writing (3). Prereq: CWR 211.
Designed for students interested in practicing advanced techniques of writing nonfiction essays, including such subgenres as memoir and personal narratives, literary journalism, nature writing, travel essays, spiritual narratives, and humorous essays. Requires students to submit essays for publication and to participate in a public reading. Workshop format. Limited to 12 students. (Spring, odd years)
324 Forms and Themes in Poetry (3).
A blended literature and writing course (with emphasis on literature) specifically designed for creative writing students. Examines various traditional and nontraditional forms and themes in western and non-western literature. Seeks, through example and analysis, to understand what poetry is, how it has functioned, and what forms it has taken in various cultures, both past and present. Examines forms including epic, lyric, haiku, narrative, sonnet, hymn, and ballad. (Fall only)
325 Forms and Themes in Prose (3).
A blended literature and writing course (with emphasis on literature) specifically designed for creative writing students. Examines various traditional and nontraditional forms and themes in western and non-western literature. Seeks, through example and analysis, to understand what prose is, how it has functioned, and what forms it has taken in various cultures, both past and present. Examines forms including myth, folktale, quest narrative, fairy tale, fable, and hero story. (Spring only)
480 Research for Writers (3) Limited to creative writing majors & minors. Prereq: CWR 211, and two 300-level creative writing workshops.
Designed for creative writing students who are beginning research for their senior capstone projects. The course will cover various kinds of bibliographical and writing research methods, including the following: library and archival research, online and digital searches, personal interviews and collection of field narratives, observation, travel to particular settings, documentary and film viewing, museum visits, etc. Each student will produce a research portfolio and write academic papers about, and applying, research methodology. (Fall only)
481 Capstone Workshop in Creative Writing (3). Prereq: Senior standing, CWR 211, and two 300-level creative writing workshops. Designed for students interested in completing significant projects for publication. Students declare individual projects in one area of creative writing (e.g. a collection of poems, short stories, or essays; a long prose work or script) at the beginning of the semester, then complete the project under the direction of the instructor. Each student must defend his or her creative work and philosophy of aesthetics paper before a faculty committee. Workshop format. Limited to 6 students. (Spring only)
482 Special Topics Writing Workshop (3). Prereq: CWR 211.
Designed for students who want to write in specific genres, including the following: the novel or novella, fantasy fiction, historical fiction, extended works of creative nonfiction, literary journalism, long poems or poem sequences, writing for children and young adults, etc. Each time the workshop is offered, it will focus on a particular genre. At times, the course may be taught by a visiting writer. Requires students to submit essays for publication and to participate in a public reading. Workshop format. Limited to 12 students. (Spring, even years)
494 Teaching Creative Writing (3). Prereq: CWR 211, and two 300-level creative writing workshops.
Designed to introduce students to the pedagogy of creative writing instruction. Topics covered will include the design and facilitation of writers- workshops, teaching techniques, formulation of lesson plans, assignment design, feedback and response strategies, and methods for teaching various age groups (children, adults, seniors, etc.). The first half of the semester will focus on lesson design and preparation. During the last half of the semester, each student will complete a supervised internship with a local school, tutoring center, neighborhood center, nursing home, senior citizens- center, home-school association, etc. The Director of the Creative Writing program will assist students in finding a teaching venue.
495 Creative Writing Internship (3). Prereq: Permission of Department Chair.
Supervised internship in a field where the student has an opportunity to use his or her writing skills. Internships may be completed in areas such as the following: printing houses, presses and publishers (e.g. University Press of MS), magazines or newspapers, nonprofits and government agencies (e.g. MS Arts Commission, MS Craft Guild and Museum), public relations, and missions organizations. Internships may be completed locally or out of state. All internships require prior approval of the creative writing program director. Students will produce at least 25 pages of writing related to their internship and submit any other work products associated with the experience.