Individualized Master of Arts (IMA) Concentration in Creative Writing

Purpose

The Individualized Master of Arts (IMA) in Creative Writing at Antioch University Midwest (AUM) offers students practice in the art of writing and engagement in a community of writers.

In this supportive and challenging environment, students evolve through writing practice, close reading, and giving and taking feedback.  Students learn through a balance of foundational course work and individualized study.  Creative writing students focus on fiction or creative nonfiction, but often work with other genres and forms within the individualized study phase.  As the final phase of graduate work, each creative writing student completes a thesis.

Throughout the creative writing curriculum, these threads are woven:

  • Reading closely as a writer, with emphasis on the methods writers use to make literature;
  • Developing writing practice, including the twin arts of composition and revision;
  • Reflection on the writer’s inner process;
  • Building a community of writers, including peers and mentors.

Program Structure

The IMA Creative Writing program consists of 36 semester credits and is offered in a low-residency format.

Phase I

The first phase of the program includes 18 credits of structured foundational courses taught in a synchronous and asynchronous distance-learning format including online discussion forums and real-time video and phone conferencing.

Phase II

The second phase of the program involves each student working with a faculty advisor and a mentor to design an individualized curriculum with deep focus on issues in creative writing that appeals to the student’s interests.  During this phase, students determine their own course of study within a structured, guided framework.

Phase III

The third phase of the program involves writing a creative thesis, which students complete while working with their advisors and mentors.  The creative thesis is usually a novella, novel, memoir, or collection of stories or essays.

In order to fulfill all Creative Writing program requirements, students complete an E-Portfolio to include:

  • Thesis
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Manifesto
  • Critical Paper
  • Documentation of workshop experience
  • OPTIONAL: Other artifacts

Residency

The program requires 2 three day residencies that allow the students to meet with their advisors, mentors, faculty and staff, and to prepare for success in the program.  The first residency takes place at the beginning of one’s program of study, and prepares one for the foundation courses; the second residency occurs before one begins the individualized phase of the program, and prepares a student to design courses, work one-on-one with a mentor, and to prepare for the thesis.

 

The following is a listing of the course curriculum for successful completion of the I.M.A. in Creative Writing.

Program Degree Requirements (12 courses = 36 credits)

Phase I

First Residency – Offered each August and January

Foundational Courses (6 courses, 18 cr)

CRW-5560 Foundations of Form 3 cr

CRW-5590 The Writer’s Process (Formerly “Professional Writer I”) 3 cr

CRW-5670 Politics of Creative Writing 3 cr

CRW-5710 Studies of Craft 3 cr

CRW-5830 Genre Studies (Applied Theory) 3 cr

CRW-5890 Sustaining The Writing Life (Formerly “Professional Writer II”) 3 cr

Phase II 

Second Residency – Offered each August and January 

Individualized Courses (4 courses, 12 cr)

CRW-6100 Elective Individualized Course I 3 cr

CRW-6200 Elective Individualized Course II 3 cr

CRW-6300 Elective Individualized Course III 3 cr

CRW-6400 Elective Individualized Course IV 3 cr

OPTIONAL, to substitute for Individualized Courses (offered ONLY in Summer term)

CRW-6700 Antioch Writers’ Workshop Seminar 3 cr

CRW-6710 Antioch Writers’ Workshop Seminar II 3 cr

Phase III – Thesis (2 courses, 6 cr)

CRW-6910 Creative Writing Thesis A 3 cr

CRW-6920 Creative Writing Thesis B 3 cr

 Note: While none of the Foundations courses are regularly offered in Summer, CRW6700 and CRW6710 are ONLY offered in Summer.  Students may also take Individualized Courses or Thesis during Summer term.  We follow a 15-week semester schedule in Fall and Spring

CRW 5560 Foundations of Form

Surveying a constellation of fiction or creative nonfiction, we approach reading as writers: beyond simply enjoying the reading experience, the goal is to understand how the writer crafts the work. When possible, interviews and essays by the writers in question are included. Students will focus on texts by established and emerging writers. Students might sample from other genres, so that fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry are all considered. This course orients students to the literary traditions they are joining. As well, students focus on finding their place in the world of writing. Students generate drafts, and give and take feedback on creative work.

CRW 5590 The Writer's Process

This course explores part of the student’s trajectory toward becoming a professional writer, focusing on the internal and creative process. Students will examine the question, “Why I write” toward writing a Manifesto, thinking, among other things, about what our responsibilities as writers might be. Students will focus on several texts in depth. Topics include the art of literature, establishing a writing practice. Students will consider some fundamentals of how to engage in the literary world, building communities of writers for oneself, using social networking and computer technology, and current issues in writing and publishing. The work of this course will include a range within each learning activity based upon the writer’s developmental stage. Based on the student’s interests and goals, students might plan the individualized curriculum.

CRW 5670 Politics of Creative Writing

People write for many different reasons, among them: to enlighten, to entertain, to instigate, to make change in the world. All writers have the common experience of choosing what to make in and of their writing. These choices are informed by the act of reading, experiencing, and imagining. This course will delve into various reasons for writing, and will examine, among other questions, how any text (and the act of writing itself) might be seen as political. Even if unconsciously, writers make choices, and this course will give students the opportunity to examine those choices, by reading others’ published work and thinking about their own work. Reading texts that address the question of social responsibility, students will move toward an understanding of the implicit and explicit politics of the act of writing. As well, ethical issues around translation, copyright, and the responsibilities inherent in entering the literary world may be discussed. Students will write an extended (approximately 20 page) well-researched Critical Paper in MLA style on some literary topic or text of interest.

CRW 5710 Studies of Craft

In addition to reading creative texts, students will examine books on the craft of writing and discuss important issues of craft. Among other topics, students will focus on the many types of research that can (and should) be done for creative writing projects. Students will take turns leading discussions of readings. Students will generate drafts, and will get and give feedback on creative manuscripts.

CRW 5830 Genre Studies-Applied Theory

In this course, students will read several texts in the form they are writing (novel, short story, memoir, or essay). With close reading and attention, students will seek to understand deeply how the chosen writers created the texts. This will include reading essays written by, and about and interviews with, the writers in question. Students will take turns leading discussions of readings. Part of the semester will be devoted to working on creative drafts.

CRW 5890 Sustaining the Writing Life

This course explores part of the student’s trajectory toward becoming a professional writer, focusing on the external issues and possibilities. Building a foundation as a professional writer, this course will allow students to plan for the transition from academic to professional work, with focus on sustaining the life of the writer during and after graduate school. Toward becoming a lifelong writer, beyond the question of how to get published, students will consider what it means to be a writer for life. This includes setting individual goals; beginning or continuing a serious writing habit and schedule; thinking in a holistic way about what it means to participate in a community of writers, such as peer-editing and feedback. Students will commence or continue to keep writerly blogs. Students will investigate, prepare, and fortify strategies toward publication, building audience, approaching the querying process, writing cover letters, synopsis, and/or book proposals. As well, students will refine and publish Manifestos (on blogs or elsewhere), publicly articulating how they envision their place and purpose as writers. The work of this course will include a range within each learning activity based upon the writer’s developmental stage.

CRW 6100 Elective Individualized Course I

In each individualized course, the student will focus on practices, issues, and texts relevant to the course of study. This might include study of areas of craft, genre studies, particular writer/s, influences, or trends in writing. Guided by the instructor (a professional writer) the student will focus on reading and writing, producing original work as well as examining published texts of other writers.

CRW 6200 Elective Individualized Course II

In each individualized course, the student will focus on practices, issues, and texts relevant to the course of study. This might include study of areas of craft, genre studies, particular writer/s, influences, or trends in writing. Guided by the instructor (a professional writer) the student will focus on reading and writing, producing original work as well as examining published texts of other writers.

CRW 6300 Elective Individualized Course III

In each individualized course, the student will focus on practices, issues, and texts relevant to the course of study. This might include study of areas of craft, genre studies, particular writer/s, influences, or trends in writing. Guided by the instructor (a professional writer) the student will focus on reading and writing, producing original work as well as examining published texts of other writers.

CRW 6400 Elective Individualized Course IV

In each individualized course, the student will focus on practices, issues, and texts relevant to the course of study. This might include study of areas of craft, genre studies, particular writer/s, influences, or trends in writing. Guided by the instructor (a professional writer) the student will focus on reading and writing, producing original work as well as examining published texts of other writers.

CRW 6700 Antioch Writers Workshop Seminar

In this course, students will develop and hone their craft through participation in the Antioch Writers Workshop (AWW) summer program. Students focus their work in one of the following genres: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or memoir. After the AWW workshop, students continue in an online workshop to refine their writing based on feedback from faculty and peers.

CRW 6710 Antioch Writers Workshop Seminar II

In this course, which will be undertaken only after discussion with instructor, students will continue to develop and hone their craft through participation in the Antioch Writers Workshop (AWW) summer program. Students focus their work in one of the following genres: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, or memoir. After the AWW workshop, students continue in an online workshop to refine their writing based on feedback from faculty and peers. This course is for students who have taken CRW 6700 during a previous summer, and will this time work in a second creative form, and/or will take further steps toward professional writing and getting published.

CRW 6910 Creative Writing Thesis A

This course is the first of two courses through which students complete a master’s thesis. Students will draft, polish, and prepare their creative work toward submission of the thesis. Generally, the thesis will be a completed work of fiction (novel or story collection), creative nonfiction (memoir or essay collection). This work will be based upon writing the student has been doing in the preceding course work. Working with the mentor, the student will draft and edit the manuscript as needed until it is acceptable as a thesis. This work will place heavy emphasis on the twin arts of revision and generating new material. (Note: Students should keep in mind that the thesis is an evolving document, that is: the thesis, when submitted for binding, might not be ready for external publication, but it should be complete, polished, and strong. After graduation, students will almost always need to revise and edit manuscripts, sometimes significantly, toward seeking publication.)

CRW 6920 Creative Writing Thesis B

This course is the second of two courses through which students complete a master’s thesis. Students will draft, polish, and prepare their creative work toward submission of the thesis. Generally, the thesis will be a completed work of fiction (novel or story collection), creative nonfiction (memoir or essay collection). This work will be based upon writing the student has been doing in the preceding course work. Working with the mentor, the student will draft and edit the manuscript as needed until it is acceptable as a thesis. This work will place heavy emphasis on the twin arts of revision and generating new material. (Note: Students should keep in mind that the thesis is an evolving document, that is: the thesis, when submitted for binding, might not be ready for external publication, but it should be complete, polished, and strong. After graduation, students will almost always need to revise and edit manuscripts, sometimes significantly, toward seeking publication.

 

 

Chair: Rebecca Kuder, M.F.A.

Rebecca is the Creative Writing Concentration Chair at the Individualized Master of Arts program at Antioch University Midwest (AUM). She has taught and designed courses in creative writing, curriculum design, and academic writing.

A native of Yellow Springs, Ohio, after graduating from Earlham College with a B.A. in Theatre Arts, Rebecca worked at the Boars Head Theatre, performing fairy tale theatre at K-12 schools throughout Michigan. She lived in Seattle for a number of years where she worked in community mental health organizations. After earning her M.F.A. from Antioch University Los Angeles, Rebecca created an academic writing help desk for M.F.A. students working on critical papers, and taught academic writing for the Antioch Ph.D. in Leadership and Change and the graduate programs at AUM. In addition, she taught technology classes across the curriculum at AUM and Antioch College. Ms. Kuder redesigned the creative writing curriculum for the Individualized MA program at AUM. Currently, she teaches: Foundations of Form, The Writer’s Process, and Antioch Writers’ Workshop Seminar. In advising students in the IMA, Rebecca intends to be a sort of literary matchmaker, fostering fruitful learning environments for students and faculty. Rebecca’s teaching, writing, and living are rooted in the importance of drama and storytelling to our humanity.

Rebecca serves on the Board of the Antioch Writers’ Workshop, working with the Programming and Faculty committees. She has published stories, essays, and poems. Currently seeking a publisher for her novel, The Watery Girl, Rebecca is finishing a new novel. She lives in Yellow Springs with her husband, the writer Robert Freeman Wexler, and their daughter, Merida. 

Gayle Brandies, M.F.A.

Gayle is the author of Fruitflesh:  Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write (Harper One), the novels The Book of Dead Birds (Harper Collins), which won Barbara Kingsolver’s Bellwether Prize for Fiction of Social Engagement, Self Storage (Ballantine), and Delta Girls (Ballantine), and her first novel for young people, My Life with the Lincolns (Henry Holt), which won a Silver Nautilus Book Award.  She recently released The Book of Live Wires, the sequel to The Book of Dead Birds, as an ebook.  Gayle teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Antioch University, Los Angeles and lives in Riverside, CA, where she is mom to two adult kids and a toddler.  She recently began a two-year appointment as the new Inlandia Literary Laureate.

John Kachuba, M. A.

John is the author of seven books (as well as five e-books), a freelance editor, and writing instructor. His articles, short stories, and essays have been widely published in various periodicals and have earned awards such as the Thurber Treat Prize and the Dogwood Fiction Prize. He holds advanced degrees in Creative Writing from Antioch University-McGregor and Ohio University. In addition to teaching at AUM, he continues to teach at Ohio University and through the Gotham Writers Workshop. For more information, see www.JohnKachuba.com.

Candace Kearns Read, M.F.A.

Candace grew up in Los Angeles, and then attended New York University, earning a B.F.A. in Dramatic Writing. She began her career as a reader for production companies including John Wells Productions and Village Roadshow Pictures, and talent and literary agencies including William Morris Agency (Now William Morris Endeavor) and International Creative Management. For several years, she worked as an Executive Story Analyst, reporting directly to the head of the motion picture talent department at ICM. She has also been a personal script reader for A-list actors and directors, including Anthony Hopkins and Marlon Brando. She’s written many original screenplays and many scripts on commission. Some of these scripts have been optioned and put in development with production companies at Fox and Disney as well as independent producers.

In 2001, she earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Nonfiction) from Antioch University Los Angeles. She has taught creative writing, screenwriting, composition, and literature for National University, Antioch University, Community College of Denver and Metropolitan State University of Denver. She is the author of the handbook Shaping True Story into Screenplay, and her nonfiction has been published in Peralta Press, Pudding House Press, online at suite 101.com and girlstrektoo.com, and in magazines such as Dining Out and Elevated Living. One of her essays recently won an Honorable Mention Award in New Milllenium Writings’ Winter Contest.

In 2002, she moved to Morrison, Colorado, where she continues to work as a writer, story analyst, screenwriter and professor. Her memoir, Under the Influence, is currently looking for a publisher.

Crystal Wilkinson, M.F.A.

Crystal Wilkinson is the author of  Blackberries, Blackberries , winner of the 2002 Chaffin Award for Appalachian Literature and Water Street, a finalist for both the UK’s Orange Prize for Fiction and the Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Legacy Award. She is also the recipient of awards and fellowships from The Kentucky Foundation for Women, The Kentucky Arts Council, The Mary Anderson Center for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She currently teaches writing and literature in the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Morehead State University, the MFA in Writing Program at Spalding University, and the Individualized MA program at Antioch University Midwest. She and her partner, poet and artist Ron Davis, own The Wild Fig Bookstore in Lexington.