As writers and media artists how do we examine our ideas and feelings, how do we bring our authentic selves to our work, and how do we discover our personal creative centers?  Whatever it may be that locks us up or energizes us creatively—relationships, partying, the natural world, pop culture, solitude, food, social justice, beauty, religion, health—how do we interrogate it, imbue it with creative intention, allow it to transform us and to connect us with others?  Structure is one key to liberating and implementing creativity: structuring the way one creates and what one creates.  Writing Matters is a program that draws students to work at the intersection of structure, and literary and media arts.

Writing skills will be developed through self-reflection, in-class practice, lectures, workshops, readings, screenings, seminar and increasingly rigorous writing assignments.  Over the course of the program students will write story treatments, screenplays, essays, poetry, short stories, and analytical papers. Each student is expected to conclude the program having generated a significant, creative work-in-progress.

In fall quarter students will be introduced to theories and practices of classical story structure and design. In addition to theory and craft-based texts, our exploration will span fiction and creative nonfiction literature, film, and video.  Readings will include short fiction, poetry, autobiography, essays and screenplays.  Screenings will range from Hollywood classics and documentaries to personal video essays and experimental film.  As we study select readings, screen films, and share written work, we will examine narrative structure, the boundaries of classical story conventions, and the transforming nature of writing engaged with the moving image.

In winter quarter students will work on culminating projects that draw on the story structures and forms previously studied.  Each student will be expected to produce a well-developed written draft of creative writing or a script-based project.  Projects will be works-in-progress that demonstrate understanding of story structure and may be in the form of screenplays, video essay scripts, poetry, short stories, a combination of forms, or a form we haven’t thought of yet. The program will conclude with student presentations of works-in-progress as solo readings, lectures, and staged readings.

This is a rigorous two-quarter, full-time writing program designed for students who are ready to pick up pens, journals, notebooks, laptops, and get carried away.  Students are expected to attend off-campus film screenings, to participate fully in all program activities, and to work about 40 hours per week including class time.