Creative Writing
Offered by the English department.

Find your voice in creative writing!

Students may obtain a Bachelor of Arts (A. B.) in Creative Writing and Literature. Courses in the major include a wide selection of poetry, fiction, playwriting, creative nonfiction, and performance. Students may undertake advanced work in one genre or multiple genres. Graduates typically pursue MFA degrees, or careers in teaching and publishing, and many win Fulbright and other prestigious fellowships.

The Creative Writing and Literature major is selective, yet creative writing workshops are open to all students regardless of major. The limited size of the creative writing workshops and the intensive individual attention from full-time faculty members make the creative writing courses ideal for those with a genuine commitment to the literary arts. Students can hone their craft with visiting writers, run Rushlight, the college’s literary magazine, perform their work in public, and much more.

The Visiting Artist Program at Wheaton provides a generous endowment for bringing artists to campus. Each year, emerging and established writers in each of the genres visit workshops, offer one-on-one conferences with students, and give public readings to the campus and the community. For Fall 2018, the following guests will be coming to campus for readings:

Resources

For more information, contact Kent Shaw, coordinator.

Major requirements for the Class of 2021 and beyond

Creative Writing and Literature major worksheet

Students who intend to major in Creative Writing and Literature should meet with the coordinator of the creative writing program during the second semester of their first year. Students must submit a portfolio during the first semester of their junior year. Guidelines are available in the English Department. Please note that all 300-level and 400-level major requirements must be taken at Wheaton.

The major consists of at least 10 courses.

Five creative writing courses minimum, including at least two at the 300-level or higher from:
CW 281 Creative Nonfiction
CW 282 Literary Translation
CW 283 Poetry Writing: Form and Craft
CW 284 Fiction Writing: Form and Craft
CW 288 Playwriting: Form and Craft
CW 289 Word and Image
CW 383 Advanced Poetry Workshop
CW 384 Advanced Fiction Workshop
CW 388 Advanced Playwriting
CW 399 Independent Writing

These five courses must include at least one 200- and 300-level sequence (e.g. CW 283 and CW 383, or CW 284 and CW 384, or CW 288 and CW 388). Students are encouraged to take two of these sequences. Occasionally and with the permission of the instructor, students who have successfully completed an advanced writing workshop in poetry (CW 383), fiction (CW 384), or playwriting (CW 388) may take the course a subsequent time as a 399.

THREE modern and contemporary ENG literature courses minimum from among the following courses, at least one 300-level:
ENG 240 Identity, Genre, and Poetry
ENG 241 Modern Drama
ENG 243 Science Fiction
ENG 245 Childhood in African Fiction
ENG 247 Feminist Fictions
ENG 252 Contemporary Drama
ENG 256 The Novel in Multiethnic America
ENG 272 Romancing the Novel
ENG 341 Public Poetry, Private Poetry
ENG 343 Fictions of the Modern
ENG 346 Postmodern American Fiction
ENG 347 Blackness, Futurism, and Supernatural Fiction
ENG 386 Young Adult Literature

ONE additional English course from literature, linguistics, writing studies, theory, film, or journalism courses:
Any English course or FNMS 231, FNMS 258

ENG 401 Senior Seminars

Major requirements for the Classes 2018, 2019, 2020

Creative Writing and Literature major worksheet

Students who intend to major in Creative Writing and Literature should meet with the coordinator of the creative writing program during the second semester of their first year. Students must submit a portfolio during the first semester of their junior year. Guidelines are available in the English Department. Please note that all 300-level and 400-level major requirements must be taken at Wheaton.

The major consists of at least 11 courses.

ENG 290 Approaches to Literature and Culture

One pre-1800 course:
ENG 207 Medieval Literature: Beowulf and Others
ENG 208 Anglo-Saxon Literature
ENG 224 Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture
ENG 273 Malcontents, Monarchy and Revenge in Early Modern Drama
ENG 274 Restoration Theatre and Beyond
ENG 309 Shakespeare and the Performance of Cultures
ENG 310 Shakespeare and the Company He Keeps
ENG 313 Renaissance Poetry
ENG 320 Beowulf
ENG 325 The Eighteenth-Century Novel
ENG 326 Eighteenth-Century Poetry: Epic, Satire and Wit, 1660-1798

One contemporary literature course:
ENG 243 Science Fiction
ENG 244 Contemporary Caribbean Literature in English
ENG 247 Feminist Fiction
ENG 252 Contemporary Drama: The Tip of the Iceberg
ENG 256 The Novel in Multi-Ethnic America
ENG 341 Public Poetry, Private Poetry
ENG 346 Postmodern American Literature: The Pursuit of Meaning: Process and Provocation
ENG 347 The Mothership has Landed: Black Speculative Fiction

Five creative writing courses, including at least two at the 300-level or above:
CW 281 Creative Nonfiction
CW 282 Literary Translation
CW 283 Poetry Writing: Form and Craft
CW 284 Fiction Writing: Form and Craft
CW 287 Writing for Performance
CW 288 Playwriting: Form and Craft
CW 289 Word and Image
CW 383 Advanced Poetry Workshop
CW 384 Advanced Fiction Workshop
CW 388 Advanced Playwriting
CW 399 Independent Writing

These five courses must include at least one 200- and 300-level sequence (e.g. CW 283 and CW 383, or CW 284 and CW 384, or CW 288 and CW 388). With the permission of the instructor, students who have successfully completed an Advanced Writing Workshop in Poetry (CW 383), Fiction (CW 384), or Playwriting (CW 388) may take the course a subsequent time as a 399.

One additional literature course.

One additional 300-level course.

ENG 401 Senior Seminars

  • Creative Writing

    CW 099 – Independent Study

    An opportunity to do independent work in a particular area not included in the regular courses.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 281 – Creative Nonfiction

    Workshop participants will study and practice the techniques of creative nonfiction through guided exercises. Significant writing and revision. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors with permission of the instructor.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 282 – Literary Translation

    Course is currently under revision.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 283 – Poetry Writing: Form and Craft

    An introduction to poetry writing and poetics. Student writing, as well as issues of craft and technique, will be discussed in class and in individual conferences. Some experience in writing poetry is preferred, but not essential.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 284 – Fiction Writing: Form and Craft

    This course is designed to give students practical knowledge of the basics of craft as well as insight into the creative process. Workshop participants will study and practice the techniques of writing the character-driven story through guided exercises. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors with permission of the instructor.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 287 – Writing for Performance

    What is performance? From the wave of a hand and the way we hold utensils to our intonation patterns and use of vocabulary, what often appear to be “unconscious” behaviors actually play out as signifying performances for spectators on the stage of everyday life. Together, we will recreate, revise, expand and contextualize our own performances and “stage” them–everywhere but in the theatre. Readings in philosophy, performance theory, art history, theatre and current events will help to foster a climate of heightening and transforming the details and language of autobiography.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 288 – Playwriting: Form and Craft

    Conflict. Paradox. Mystery. Suspense. Gossip. Poetry. Lies. All the ingredients of great plays. From dreams, memories, coupons, newspaper articles, rare books, overheard snippets of conversation, visual images and sounds, you will be encouraged to create fragments of dramatic writing (i.e., dialogues, monologues, settings) unique to your own imagination and temperament. Then our focus will shift to revision and expansion–deepening character, refining language and building a dramatic arc. Readings of contemporary plays, theory, manifestos and reviews will supplement our creative work.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 289 – Word and Image

    Course is currently under revision.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 299 – Independent Study

    As part of the creative writing concentration, after successful completion of at least one advanced writing workshop, students may be invited to undertake a semester of independent writing under the guidance of and with permission of the instructor.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 383 – Advanced Poetry Workshop

    Intensive practice in the writing of poetry. Exercises and independent work, using assigned readings as models, will be discussed in workshop sessions and individual conferences.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 384 – Advanced Fiction Workshop

    This course allows students to study and practice various aspects of fiction writing through workshops and readings in the long story, the novella and the novel. Class discussions will be based on the students’ manuscripts and selected published works. Significant written output and revision are expected of workshop participants.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 388 – Advanced Playwriting

    After we’ve written one or two plays, what we have to hold onto in those terrifying moments of facing the blank page are more refined instincts; a sharper sense of immediacy; some tools for creating character, dialogue, setting and dramatic arc, and probably a stronger determination to make the beast fly. Through a series of writing exercises and an ongoing discussion of individual creative process, we will focus on developing, shaping, refining and energizing our content. Plays written in this course will be included in the annual spring New Plays Festival. Readings of contemporary plays, theory, manifestos and reviews will supplement our creative work.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 399 – Independent Study

    As part of the creative writing concentration, after successful completion of at least one advanced writing workshop, students may be invited to undertake a semester of independent writing under the guidance of and with permission of the instructor.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 499 – Independent Writing

    As part of the creative writing concentration, after successful completion of at least one advanced writing workshop, students may be invited to undertake a semester of independent writing under the guidance of and with permission of the instructor.

  • Creative Writing

    CW 500 – Individual Research

    Open to senior majors by invitation of the department; other interested students should consult with the chair of the department.

Deyonne Bryant

Samuel Valentine Cole Associate Professor of English; Chair, English Department

Charlotte Meehan

Playwright-in-Residence, Professor of English, Mary Heuser Chair in the Arts

Kent Shaw

Assistant Professor of English

Sue Standing

Professor of English, Writer in Residence; Coordinator of Creative Writing and Literature