Creative Writing: The Craft of Style

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Description

When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: Your style is as unique and distinctive as your face, your voice, except that you can choose it, you can can work on it, enhance it. In this course we will introduce aspiring writers to the art of putting pressure on written language. We will study the use of metaphor and imagery, and demonstrate how clarity, grace, and inventiveness in word choice are imperative to a story’s success. Writers will emerge with the revision skills essential to all writers of good stories and good prose.

Created by:  Wesleyan University
  • Taught by:  Salvatore Scibona, Frank B. Weeks Visiting Professor of English

Basic Info Course 4 of 5 in the Creative Writing S…

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When you enroll for courses through Coursera you get to choose for a paid plan or for a free plan

  • Free plan: No certicification and/or audit only. You will have access to all course materials except graded items.
  • Paid plan: Commit to earning a Certificate—it's a trusted, shareable way to showcase your new skills.

About this course: Your style is as unique and distinctive as your face, your voice, except that you can choose it, you can can work on it, enhance it. In this course we will introduce aspiring writers to the art of putting pressure on written language. We will study the use of metaphor and imagery, and demonstrate how clarity, grace, and inventiveness in word choice are imperative to a story’s success. Writers will emerge with the revision skills essential to all writers of good stories and good prose.

Created by:  Wesleyan University
  • Taught by:  Salvatore Scibona, Frank B. Weeks Visiting Professor of English

Basic Info Course 4 of 5 in the Creative Writing Specialization Commitment 4 weeks of study, 2-4 hours/week Language English How To Pass Pass all graded assignments to complete the course. User Ratings 4.7 stars Average User Rating 4.7See what learners said Coursework

Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.

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Wesleyan University At Wesleyan, distinguished scholar-teachers work closely with students, taking advantage of fluidity among disciplines to explore the world with a variety of tools. The university seeks to build a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit.

Syllabus


WEEK 1


Meaning, Sense, and Clarity
Here in the first module we focus on putting pressure on your words so that they mean what you intend. We balance abstraction with the need to make good sense. And we discuss the first and last stylistic difficulty of any prose writer, being clear.


9 videos, 2 readings expand


  1. Video: Introduction to Style
  2. Video: Introduction to Meaning, Sense, and Clarity
  3. Video: The Pyramid of Language
  4. Video: Scatteration
  5. Video: Shop Talk with Amity Gaige
  6. Video: Excellent Word Choice at Work, pt. 1
  7. Discussion Prompt: Fill in the Blank
  8. Video: Excellent Word Choice at Work, pt. 2
  9. Video: Assignment Overview
  10. Reading: A Note on Assignments
  11. Video: Feedback Expectations for the Specialization
  12. Reading: Promo Codes

Graded: Sensuous Description

WEEK 2


Writing with Nouns and Verbs



In the second module we look at the various parts of speech and how two of them—nouns and verbs—are the building blocks of good style and good narratives. By relying on nouns, we make the people, places, and things of the narrative world vivid. By relying on verbs we keep the story alive and in motion.


6 videos expand


  1. Video: Introduction to Writing with Nouns and Verbs
  2. Video: Nouns and Verbs at Work, pt. 1
  3. Discussion Prompt: Fill in the Blank
  4. Video: Nouns and Verbs at Work, pt 2.
  5. Video: Close Reading of "Lord of Misrule"
  6. Video: A Conversation with Jaimy Gordon, Author of "Lord of Misrule"
  7. Video: Assignment Overview

Graded: Very Short Narrative

WEEK 3


Economy
In the third module, having practiced putting words in, we learn to take them out. And why: for humor, for clarity, for cleanliness, and for that fleet quality of wit that makes a style irresistible.


5 videos, 1 reading expand


  1. Video: Introduction to Economy
  2. Video: Surgery
  3. Video: Shop Talk with Brando Skyhorse
  4. Video: Visiting Writer: Sophie McManus
  5. Reading: Sophie McManus's Informal List of Words and Phrases to Cut
  6. Video: Assignment Overview

Graded: Cut It Out

WEEK 4


"No Ideas But in Things"



In the the final module of the course, we learn to balance the drive to get at ideas and feelings, with the need the story always has for concreteness, realness. We learn to express ideas in the form of physical things in a narrative world, to produce a style that speaks as much to the world of the senses as to the world of the mind.


6 videos expand


  1. Video: An Introduction to Things
  2. Video: Respecting the Reader's Mind
  3. Video: Shop Talk with Amy Bloom
  4. Video: The Reader-Writer Arc
  5. Video: Close Reading of "Song of Solomon"
  6. Video: Assignment Overview

Graded: Concrete Style Infused with Thought and Feeling
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