Writer's Workshop: Creative Writing

The Writer’s Workshop mission is an apprenticeship program guided by professional writers, wherein students work to find their voices in a variety of literary genres, principally poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting. We prepare our students to write professionally, read closely, share their ideas, think critically, and sharpen their capacity for empathy to open themselves to diverse cultural points of view.

Other Information

Thesis Option

Students whose work is above average and who are considering doing graduate work in creative writing may apply after one Advanced Studio to pursue the BFA with Senior Thesis. The result is a book-length manuscript of original work in the student’s area of concentration (e.g. a collection of poems, a collection of short stories, a novel, a collection of essays or a screenplay), prepared during the last year of study while working one-on-one with a WRWS faculty member. To earn this special designation on their official transcripts, candidates for the degree must take two semesters of WRWS 4990

For More Information on Creative Writing

Contact the Department of Writer’s Workshop at 402.554.2406

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Student Groups

The Crop Literary Club
13th Floor Literary Magazine

WRWS 1010  CONTEMPORARY WRITERS:IN PERSON IN PRINT (3 credits)

An introduction to reading contemporary literature by studying the ways in which a writer shapes a poem or tale to communicate with an audience. Emphasizes the most contemporary prose and poetry and includes a series of readings and classroom visits by guest writers whose books are the texts for the class.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): ENGL1160 or equivalent. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 1500  INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE WRITING (3 credits)

An introduction for non-majors in creative writing to the art and craft of writing fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Follows a workshop format based on individual and group critique of students' writing, discussion of principles and techniques of the craft, and reading and analysis of instructive literary examples.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): ENGL1160

Distribution: Humanities and Fine Arts General Education course

WRWS 2000  SPECIAL STUDIES IN WRITING (3 credits)

Offers varying subjects in writing and reading for the basic study of special forms, structures and techniques of imaginative literature. Consult the current class schedule for the semester's subject. May be repeated for credit with change of subject.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): ENGL 1160. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 2050  FUNDAMENTALS OF FICTION WRITING (3 credits)

A study of the ways in which writers confront the technical choices of their craft, this course introduces students to the major elements of fiction in order to increase their critical awareness both as readers and writers and to prepare them for work in succeeding fiction studios.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): ENGL1160 or equivalent.

WRWS 2060  FUNDAMENTALS OF POETRY WRITING (3 credits)

This beginning writing course in poetry emphasizes the manner in which poets meet and deal with the technical choices confronting them in the making of a poem. Written work introduces students to a number of established forms in order to increase an understanding of the elements of a successful poem.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): ENGL1160 or equivalent. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 2100  BASIC FICTION STUDIO (4 credits)

A basic workshop course in fiction writing, studying the shapes and techniques of composing complete fictions. This is the first of four fiction studios.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS2050

WRWS 2200  BASIC POETRY STUDIO (4 credits)

A basic course in the making of the poem. Explores different forms while encouraging the poet to find his/her own voice.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS2060

WRWS 2300  BASIC CREATIVE NONFICTION STUDIO (4 credits)

A beginning studio in various forms and craft techniques of creative nonfiction. Students study and practice writing such forms as the personal essay, the memoir, the adventure narrative, the essay of issues, etc.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 2050 or 2060. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 2400  FOUNDATIONS OF SCREENWRITING (3 credits)

This course introduces the student to the foundational elements of screenwriting. The student will learn and practice the techniques of conveying a story in images and sound, creating characters with human motives and conflicts, editing for economy and thematic significance. Proper script formatting will be taught and expected.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): English 1160 or equivalent.

Distribution: Humanities and Fine Arts General Education course

WRWS 2600  BASIC SCREENWRITING AND TELEVISION WRITING STUDIO (4 credits)

This studio introduces the fundamentals of screenwriting. The student will produce a pitch, outline and completed industry-standard screenplay that conveys a story, creates characters, and is edited for economy and theme. Proper script formatting will be taught and expected.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 2050, or WRWS 2060. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 3000  SELECTED TOPICS IN WRITING (1-3 credits)

This course presents selected theoretical and practical approaches to crafting one or more the following genres: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, screenwriting, young adult literature, the video game narrative, or the graphic novel. Specific topics for the course will vary from semester to semester. Consult current class scheduled for the semester¿s topic(s). This course may be repeated for credit as a different course under a new topic

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Vary according to specific topics being offered

WRWS 3010  LITERARY MAGAZINE (APPLIED) (3 credits)

For writing majors as an applied experience in editing and publishing a literary journal. During his/her involvement in the course, the student will assume responsibility as a member of the editorial staff of the UNO literary magazine. May be repeated up to six hours.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Sophomore and permission of magazine adviser

WRWS 3030  ADVANCED CONTEMPORARY WRITERS (3 credits)

This advanced course explores contemporary literature by studying the ways in which writers in multiple genres shape their work to communicate with an audience. It emphasizes the most contemporary prose and poetry and includes a series of readings and classroom visits by guest writers whose books are the texts for the class.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): ENGL 1160 or equivalent.

WRWS 3100  INTERMEDIATE FICTION STUDIO (4 credits)

An intermediate course in fiction writing. Emphasis on developing complete short stories or constructing a novel.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 2100 or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 3200  INTERMEDIATE POETRY STUDIO (4 credits)

An intermediate course in the making of poetry. Emphasis on further development of poetic technique by making poetry and subjecting what is made to critical analysis. (Cross-listed with WRWS 4210)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 2200. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 3300  INTERMEDIATE CREATIVE NONFICTION STUDIO (4 credits)

An intermediate-level studio course in forms and crafting techniques of creative nonfiction. Students study and practice writing within such forms as the literary essay, the essay of issues, historical nonfiction, the nonfiction novel, etc.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 2300 or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 3500  CREATIVE WRITING FOR THE ARTS (3 credits)

An introduction to the art and craft of writing fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and analyses of works in art, music, and journalism/political rhetoric. Intended for non-majors in creative writing, and tailored to the needs of other arts disciplines, notably those in CFAM, the course will follow a workshop format based on individual and group critique of students' writing, discussion of principles and techniques of craft and selected literary readings. Students will also experience and analyze other arts forms, which may include exhibits of visual and performance art, journalistic essays and/or political speeches.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): ENGL 1160 or equivalent.

Distribution: Writing in the Discipline Single Course and Humanities and Fine Arts General Education course

WRWS 3600  INTERMEDIATE SCREENWRITING STUDIO (4 credits)

This course will build on the foundation established in the Beginning Screenwriting Studio (2600). The student will complete and revise the first draft of a feature-length screenplay. The student will also pitch, note-card, and begin writing a speculation script for television. The class will attend Film Streams once a month to view the current independent offering. There will be lectures and assigned reading. The course will culminate in the student beginning work on a second feature-length screenplay.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 2600. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 3990  INDEPENDENT STUDIES (3-6 credits)

For the writing major who has need of work not currently available in program offerings and who has demonstrated a capacity for working independently. Emphasis on in-depth study in some specific aspect of writing.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 4000  FORM AND THEORY (3 credits)

Advanced study of varying forms, structures, and techniques in creative writing. Specific topics of study may change each semester, and students may repeat the course under a new topic. Consult current class schedule.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Completion of WRWS 2100 or 2200 or 2300, varies according to specific topics offered.

WRWS 4100  ADVANCED FICTION STUDIO II (4 credits)

An advanced course in fiction in which students write and edit the most fully-developed short stories and/or novel sections of their college career, as well as read, analyze, and discuss assigned texts. Students examine the techniques of fiction writing, use the vocabulary and perspective they have gained so far to discuss their and others' work. They draw upon aspects of the self, the senses, imagination and memory to produce texts unique to their own voice and experience. (Cross-listed with WRWS 4110, WRWS 8116)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 3100 or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 4110  ADVANCED FICTION STUDIO II (4 credits)

An advanced course in fiction in which students write and edit the most fully-developed short stories and/or novel sections of their college career, as well as read, analyze, and discuss assigned texts. Students examine the techniques of fiction writing, use the vocabulary and perspective they have gained so far to discuss their and others' work. They draw upon aspects of the self, the senses, imagination and memory to produce texts unique to their own voice and experience. (Cross-listed with WRWS 4100, WRWS 8116)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 3100 or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 4200  ADVANCED POETRY STUDIO I (4 credits)

An advanced course in poetry writing. Emphasis on refining poetic technique. (Cross-listed with WRWS 8206)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 3200 or WRWS 4210 or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 4210  INTERMEDIATE POETRY STUDIO (4 credits)

An intermediate course in the making of poetry. Emphasis on further development of poetic technique by making poetry and subjecting what is made to critical analysis. (Cross-listed with WRWS 3200)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 2200. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 4300  ADVANCED CREATIVE NONFICTION STUDIO (4 credits)

An advanced studio course in writing creative nonfiction. The course provides a context in which the student continues to practice techniques of literary nonfiction through the process of writing and rewriting.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 3300 or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 4310  ADVANCED CREATIVE NONFICTION STUDIO II (4 credits)

An advanced studio course in writing creative nonfiction. The course provides a context in which the student continues to practice techniques of literary nonfiction through the process of writing and rewriting.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 2300 and WRWS 3300, or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 4600  ADVANCED SCREENWRITING STUDIO I (4 credits)

This class will focus on the craft of screenwriting: plot, format, substance, style, scene development, film structure (both independent and main stream), three dimensional characters, and precise, professional dialogue. The student will complete a feature-length screenplay over course of the semester. There will be lectures and assigned reading. Once a month the student will view the current independent offering at Film Streams. This class will guide the student in completing a work portfolio, querying agents, applying to internships, and preparing for a career in film and television. (Cross-listed with WRWS 8606).

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 2600 and WRWS 3600.

WRWS 4610  ADVANCED SCREENWRITING STUDIO II (4 credits)

This class will build on the knowledge gained in Beginning Screenwriting Studio (WRWS 2600) and Intermediate Screenwriting Studio (WRWS 3600). The student will complete a second feature-length screenplay and an original pilot for television. There will be lectures and assigned reading. Once a month the student will view the current independent offering at Film Streams. This class will guide the student in completing a work portfolio, querying agents, applying to internships, and preparing for a career in film and television after graduation.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 2600 and WRWS 3600. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 4860  MODERN FAMILIAR ESSAY (3 credits)

A study of the modern familiar essay, with an emphasis on writing the informal essay.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): ENGL 2000 or ENGL 2400 or ENGL 2410, or permission.

WRWS 4990  SENIOR THESIS (3-6 credits)

An option for the writing majors in their last year of study to enable them to prepare a body of original work in their areas of concentration for judging by a committee of faculty.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Permission of department chair and thesis advisor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 8000  FORM AND THEORY (3 credits)

This course is an advanced study of historical and contemporary theories, forms, and techniques in one or more literary genres, which may include poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and screenwriting. Specific topics of study may change from term to term, and students may repeat the course under a new topic. Consult current class schedule.

WRWS 8106  FICTION STUDIO (4 credits)

An advanced course in fiction writing. Emphasis on refining the techniques of developing short fiction or the novel.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 3100 or permission of instructor.

WRWS 8116  ADVANCED FICTION STUDIO II (4 credits)

An advanced course in fiction in which students write and edit the most fully-developed short stories and/or novel sections of their college career, as well as read, analyze, and discuss assigned texts. Students examine the techniques of fiction writing, use the vocabulary and perspective they have gained so far to discuss their and others' work. They draw upon aspects of the self, the senses, imagination and memory to produce texts unique to their own voice and experience. (Cross-listed with WRWS 4100, WRWS 4110)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 3100 or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 8206  ADVANCED POETRY STUDIO I (4 credits)

An advanced course in poetry writing. Emphasis on refining poetic technique. (Cross-listed with WRWS 4200)

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): WRWS 3200 or WRWS 4210 or permission of instructor. Not open to non-degree graduate students.

WRWS 8216  POETRY STUDIO (4 credits)

A graduate workshop in poetry writing with emphasis on such elements of craft as rhythm, imagery, lineation, diction, and metaphor. The course presumes the student is familiar with principles and practice of Twentieth Century poetry in English.

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Graduate standing and permission of instructor based on writing sample.

WRWS 8606  ADVANCED SCREENWRITING STUDIO I (4 credits)

This class will focus on the craft of screenwriting: plot, format, substance, style, scene development, film structure (both independent and main stream), three dimensional characters, and precise, professional dialogue. The student will complete a feature-length screenplay over course of the semester. There will be lectures and assigned reading. Once a month the student will view the current independent offering at Film Streams. This class will guide the student in completing a work portfolio, querying agents, applying to internships, and preparing for a career in film and television. (Cross-listed with WRWS 4600).

Prerequisite(s)/Corequisite(s): Not open to non-degree graduate students.