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Creative Writing Major

Amie C. Charney

Creative Writing Director



Major in Creative Writing

  North East School of the Arts Creative Writing

To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself - anybody can have ideas - the difficulty is to express them without squandering a squire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph."

- Mark Twain


Writing is an art, a skill, a joy, an act of hope, a method of communicating ideas, a way of expressing emotion, a means by which we describe already existing beauty, a process through which we can create new beauty. In NESA's Creative Writing program, students are encouraged to find their own voices as well as to achieve mastery of the different existing genres within literature and broadcast mediums. Through the reading of established writers and the close study of their work, students will gain a deeper knowledge of the existing canon. Through the constant creation of new material the students will be groomed to add to that canon.


In short: young writers are provided a nurturing and secure environment, rich in resources and enhanced by the daily feedback of other writers, in which they are free to experiment, imagine, and polish their writing.


  • Creative Writing graduates have been accepted to Yale, Stanford, Princeton, Cornell, Vassar, Smith, Wellesley, Northwestern, Medill School of Journalism, University of Chicago, NYU-Tisch, Sarah Lawrence, Emerson College, University of Warwick, University of Westminster, University of Arizona, University of New Mexico, School of Fine Arts in Boston, Seattle University, Knox College, Bard College, University of Texas-Austin Plan II, St. Edwards University, Trinity University, UTSA, University of the Incarnate Word, Our Lady of the Lake, St. Mary's University, Texas State, Tulane, Loyola New Orleans, and LSU.



Practical Writing Skills

During the first year of the program (first level), the student is immersed in poetry - the reading of, the study of, and the creating of in various styles. During the first semester the emphasis is on fixed form poetry and its creators. As Pope has written in An Essay on Criticism: "True Ease in Writing comes from Art, not Chance, / As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance."

This is a foundation course designed to introduce students to the fundamentals of fixed form poetry through intense reading, analysis, study of structure and creation of same. Workshopping and revision of original written works are emphasized and frequent recitations enhance presentation skills. By the end of the semester students will be writing sonnets, odes pantoums, ghazals, ballads, triolets, sestinas, and villanelles.


Imaginative Writing Skills

The student moves on to free verse and the ideas and imagination which have been bubbling up burst into full bloom. Building upon the fundamentals covered in the first semester, the emphasis now is on the study and analysis of free form verse. The students are encouraged through lecture and exercises to roam unfettered through acknowledged expert writing and to write in as many innovative and creative directions as they can conceive. They are also involved in public readings of their works.



Creative Writing Arts

During the second year of the program (or second level) the student plunges into fiction, fairy tales, non-fiction, creative non-fiction, children's and young adult literature, magazine writing, journalism, etc. This intermediate course emphasizes the study and creation of fiction in short story form, fairy tales, children's and young adult literature. Frequent writing exercises allow the students to perfect their voice and their style. Frequent workshopping and presentations enhance their communication skills.



Literary Styles / Genres

In this course the evolving nature of student writing development allows for exploration of the more commercial forms of writing, including non-fiction, creative non-fiction, magazine article writing, travel writing, theatrical and film review. While striving to master all of these styles of writing, presentation skills are also highlighted with in-class delivery of finished pieces and public readings at assorted venues.



Open only to upper level students who wish to immerse themselves into art, history, art history, fashion, politics, philosophy, and accomplish cultural literacy. This is a wide ranging course that explores all manner of subjects and aims at achieving what E.D. Hirsh termed Core Knowledge.


Writing for Stage and Screen

This advanced course concentrates on an in-depth study of the form, structure, and history of playwriting. Readings in the basic canon of classical and contemporary drama prepare the students for the creation of literary product capable of being staged. Emphasis is placed on the art of communication of ideas through dialogue, setting, and plot. Frequent readings in class of written material along with daily exercises in the writing of specific outlines and scenes lead to the eventual creation of full-length plays. Some of these plays are read publicly and have been staged and performed.



Having learned the basics of playwriting, the craft of screenplays is now studied with the focus placed on worthy subjects, complete story creation, and taut dialogue. Essential tools of the medium are taught along with formatting and audience consideration. Television writing is also studied and by the end of the semester screenplays and teleplays are completed. Public readings and table readings provide the experience needed to ascertain project viability. Along with the technical skills of writing for film, broad areas of cultural education are involved as the subject matter of writing for the public necessitates intense scrutiny of history, philosophy, language, pop culture, art, music, and literature.


Research and Technical Writing / Independent Study

This course aims at honing the writing skills of the creative student into coherent and practical writing that can successfully be applied to commercial, scientific, and/or technical areas. Especially emphasized is the participation in the production of NESA's literary magazine.



Independent Study

After thorough immersion in all genres of writing, the student is guided into the creation and completion of an independently chosen project. The project may be a collection of short stories, a collection of poetry, a novel or novella, a play, screenplay, or teleplay, a children's book (illustrated), or a combination of the aforementioned. This course also emphasizes the compiling, editing, and publishing of the literary magazine.