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What Is a Creative Writing Major Like?

If you’re curious about what a creative writing major is like, check out this helpful guide. We’ll cover everything from the coursework to the marking and assessment to show you what you’ll need to know.

Embrace Your Creativity

A creative writing major encourages you to be creative and to express yourself through writing. The only limit is your own imagination!

Throughout your studies, you’ll be assigned a variety of tasks that will help you develop your creative writing skills. For example, you may be required to write an analysis of a text, organise and lead a creative workshop, design an advertising campaign, or write a short story or novel.

These tasks may feel like a chore at first, but you should see them as a chance to explore a new subject matter and to develop your creative and innovative thinking. Plus, there will always be someone around to help you if you get stuck.

An Introduction To Creative Writing

If you’ve never written a creative work before, starting off with an introduction to creative writing may seem a little daunting. Don’t worry – we’ve all been there!

Like any other major, an introduction to creative writing will entail you studying a variety of subjects, ranging from fiction to non-fiction and journalism to poetry. You’ll also learn about different writing styles and the different platforms (e.g. blogs, websites, etc.) that exist for writers to publish their work.

However, an introduction to creative writing will give you the opportunity to explore a subject that you’re passionate about and to do so in a way that you believe will benefit you in the future. For example, if you’re interested in journalism, you may want to explore the craft in more detail or the theory behind it all. Or, if you’ve always been intrigued by the process of writing a novel, your introduction to creative writing will be the perfect opportunity to do so. In either case, you can bet that you’ll enjoy your studies and that you’ll look back on them with fond memories.

The Coursework

Of course, no major would be complete without some sort of formal qualification. In the case of a creative writing major, this will take the form of a Master of Creative Writing (M.C.W.).

As the name might suggest, the aim of this qualification is to provide you with the necessary skills to become a successful creative writer. To that end, you’ll study a variety of theoretical and practical topics, including:

  • English language proficiency
  • Creative writing
  • Critical theory
  • Research methods
  • History of literature
  • Modernism, postmodernism, and postcolonialism
  • Theories of disability
  • The business of writing and publishing
  • The role of the agent
  • Mock-lectures, seminars, and workshops
  • Independent study

As mentioned above, one of the goals of a creative writing major is to develop your creative writing skills. To that end, you’ll be required to produce a high quality piece of creative writing on a frequent basis. In terms of the format, you’re free to choose what suits you best – from free verse to prose, and from narrative to creative non-fiction. But don’t underestimate the value of writing short stories either! 

For example, if you’re a documentary filmmaker and you want to write the screenplays for your own films, you may want to pursue a master of cinema studies so that you can better understand the process of turning events and stories into films. In order to do so, you’ll need to write a 40-page reflection paper on a film topic (e.g. violence in media, gender in media, etc.). If you’re passionate about writing and would like to continue writing after your studies, look into the specialisations available within the M.C.W. It’s likely that some of them will allow you to do so. For instance, the specialism in Creative Non-Fiction may be of interest to you if you’d like to explore the non-fiction world or if you’d like to write a novel.

Thesis and Examination

After you graduate from university with your M.C.W., you’ll have a chance to publish your thesis. This is where you’ll show the world your creative writing skills by presenting your analysis of a particular topic. It’s also the chance to make some extra cash by selling your work to publications or by taking on clients as a freelance writer. Finally, it’s a great way to gain some valuable experience that you can put on your résumé to reel in future employers.

Of course, you don’t need to submit your thesis to win the approval of your tutor – you just have to meet the minimum criteria set by your university, which usually involve showing some evidence of independent thought and academic rigour.

With regards to your examination, don’t worry – it won’t be all technicalities! Your creative writing major will give you the opportunity to show off your creative side and your ability to think logically and critically. For your final examination, you may be asked to write a 10-page dissertation, complete a substantial amount of original (i.e. non-literary) creative writing, or present a formal argument to justify a particular opinion or point of view.

Depending on which option you choose, you’ll need to prepare appropriately and seek out some help if you feel stuck. For example, if you decide to write a formal argumentative essay, you may want to consider joining a critical thinking group or studying for the argumentative essay section of the GAMSAT. Alternatively, if you’d like to write a 10-page literary analysis, you might want to join a literature club and get introduced to working with literary texts. Of course, if you’re asked to present a formal argument, you may want to join a debating society and start learning how to argue your case logically.

Marking And Assessment

The marking and assessment process for a creative writing major is similar to that of any other major. But because it’s a rather subjective process, don’t underestimate how marking can vary from teacher to teacher or class to class. This can make it rather daunting to know how you’re going to be assessed without having received a clear idea of what is expected of you by way of effort and achievement.

When it comes to your thesis, your independent study, and the creative pieces that you write, your teachers will score you on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being the worst and 10 being the best. When it comes to your final year project, you’ll have to earn a certain number of points in order to achieve a passing grade (e.g. 70% or more).

If you’re finding the assessment process a little challenging, don’t worry – you’re not alone! One of the best things about a formal education is that it gives you an opportunity to explore a range of topics and to develop your skills and understanding in a way that is coherent and systematic. Studying a subject that you’re truly passionate about is the key to passing in your exam and going onto the next stage in your education. If you get stuck at any point during your studies, don’t hesitate to ask for help – there’s always someone around to lend a hand! As for what is expected of you in terms of effort, if you’re finding the tasks set by your teachers challenging but interesting, then you’re probably in the right place. In that case, it’s important to set your own achievable goals for yourself and to keep track of your efforts with some solid independent study or homework sessions. Even if you don’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything, you’re probably still making progress and establishing a base level of competence that you can build upon in the future.

To wrap up, a creative writing major is a great option if you want to establish yourself as a skilled writer. As you can see, this article gave you a glimpse of what a creative writing major is like. From the coursework to the examination, there’s a lot to think about. To get the most out of your studies, make sure to take time to think about what kind of writer you want to become and how you can go about making that happen. Good luck out there!