The Original School of Creative Writing and Thinking, est. 1987

Online Level 1

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About Online Level 1 Courses

Our Online Level I workshop is not just an introduction to The Writers Studio, it’s an invigorating class that brings together students from all over the U.S. and the world to explore the myriad possibilities of narrative in fiction and poetry. Students do a short weekly assignment based on a piece of published work (provided in the online classroom). These assignments, using both fiction and poetry, are designed to introduce them to a wide range of approaches and to broaden their sense of what is possible in their own work. The assignments show them what it means to create narrative voices different from the voice they might use in a journal. During the term, students have a chance to revise or continue one of their previous assignments. As the student’s understanding of technique deepens so does the clarity and emotional power of the writing.

Written feedback is also a big component of the class. Students are expected to write at least three critiques each week. The teacher provides a written weekly critique of each student’s assignment. The workshops are designed to help students learn from their own work, as well as from the work of others.

Some Online Level I teachers are fiction writers and others are poets, but they all have experience writing and teaching both genres. In Level I, we teach techniques relevant to both fiction and poetry, and the excerpts that form the foundation of the weekly assignments are drawn from both fiction and poetry. Students who already know that they want to pursue fiction should write fiction even when the assignment is poetry, and likewise students who already know they want to pursue poetry should write poetry each week even when the assignment is fiction. But because in Level I we sometimes have students who aren’t yet sure, students have the option of trying out both fiction and poetry. (Once they move on to Level II, they are expected to stick to one genre.) Level I is designed as a 16-week sequence, which means that students take two 8-week terms before moving on to Level II. The two terms do not have to be taken consecutively. Barring a scheduling conflict, generally students stay with the same teacher.

Having let my creative writing chops atrophy over the years because of the demands of making it as a scientist has not done much to feed my real needs. I must say this class has provided more stimulation, support and interesting exchange than I could have possibly hoped for. DON ROBIN, online student