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Literature Study with a “Writer’s Eye”

The topic of my Master’s Degree Capstone, “Integration of Literature into the Online Creative Writing Classroom” raises some interesting questions regarding how the classics of literature can help a creative writer improve.  Below is an abstract of my capstone and in the future, I will blog on the topic in this space.


The study of literature was once the cornerstone of a creative writer’s training, but it lost significance when creative writing workshops became the pedagogical vehicle of choice.  This de-emphasis on works of literature in the creative writing discipline has reduced the thematic and craft options emphasized in student writing.  

An integration of the study of literature into the creative writing instructional process broadens the exposure of student writers.  Online instruction provides technological and logistical advantages that further enhance the process of integrating literature.  The wide variety of communication channels in the online environment allows the instructor to tailor the instructional presentation method to fit the concepts addressed.

My Capstone includes a portfolio of an upper level, literature focused, online creative writing course which illustrates how creative writing and the study of great writers can be effectively integrated in an online environment. Students in the course will perform a literary analysis of several works with a “writer’s eye” and will incorporate the insights gained into their own writing.


Course Description

Literature for Creative Writing provides instruction in creative writing through the analysis of literature. Students will develop an understanding of how writers make a literary statement through their use of the elements of craft and theme. Included in the topics covered is the study of techniques of prose fiction craft, literary research, criticism and documentation.  The course will be offered in an online environment and a key component will be student interactions regarding the literature reviewed and reacting to other student’s creative writing.

Course Objectives:

Students will create original writing projects applying the knowledge and experience gained from exposure to literary works, analysis and research.

Students will learn to critically read, research and interpret writing of significant literary quality gaining experience regarding how craft elements are utilized, the importance of thematic devices, organizational options and most importantly, how an author brings all of the factors together to make a literary statement.

Students will learn to collaborate and exchange ideas regarding literary works and regarding other student’s creative writing.

Writing Assignments:

·         Three literary research papers of 500 to 1,000 words

·         Two original short stories at least 750 words

·         One original 2 to 3 page outline and the first chapter (at least 750 words) of a novel

·         Journal entries of a minimum of 250 words in weeks there are no writing assignments that reflect the student’s reactions to the readings and class discussions and  as well as perceptions of how they can be applied to the student’s personal reading and writing processes.


This is a link to the entire presentation: http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1108&context=etds

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