This one comes in all the time. And we get it. When people think of ‘creative writing’, most think ‘fiction’.
Maybe it’s because that’s what ‘creative writing’ meant in grade school.
I remember being in 4th or 5th grade and having a creative writing ‘module’ in English class. And the focus was on making things up. It’s possible there was a flip-book involved or some version of a group story-writing experience, where the teacher (Mrs. Slain? Mr. Terban?) gave us a premise and everyone added their bit. But whatever it was, it was about spinning stories from our imagination.
At Gotham, when we say ‘creative writing’, we mean something…broader.
Creative Writing 101 introduces what storytelling is whether you’re telling a true story or letting your imagination fly. The class uses lecture, discussion, and weekly exercises to teach stuff that’s common to all stories, like story structure and character. But it also sharpens powers of imagination, observation, description, so newer writers (or vets wanting to shake things up) learn to look at the world through a writer’s eyes and mine what they see for story ideas. And it lets you wade into the writing waters slowly, so you build confidence: no big projects, just a chance to try it all out and see where the heat is.
Fiction I teaches the how to’s of tapping into your imagination and writing short stories or maybe, down the road, a novel. It breaks this one particular kind of writing into its fundamental parts—plot, character, dialogue, point of view, etc.—using lecture, discussion, examples, and writing exercises. Plus you get the chance to work on a story or two of your own design and get feedback on it from the instructor and the group. And give your peers feedback, too.
So, once more with feeling:
CR101 = general storytelling, lasts 6 weeks, weekly writing but no major project.
Fiction I = specific, lasts 10 weeks, weekly writing AND yes major project.
Which is right for you? Give us a call and we can talk it through!
Dana Miller is Gotham's Dean of Students and Director of One-on-One Services.