The Creative Writing option for the Senior Integrative Exercise offers students the opportunity to integrate the experience they have had of reading and thinking deeply about literature with their interest in creating their own work of literary art. In order for you to fulfill the Integrative Exercise requirement of your English major with a Creative Writing Comps you must satisfy the following:

A. Prerequisites:

  1. You must have taken, by the end of the Fall term of your senior year, at least two creative writing courses in the English Department, one of which must be at the 300 level.  
  2. In the spring of junior year, you should discuss the proposed creative writing project with an English Department faculty member.

B. In the Fall of senior year you submit a written proposal consisting of:

  1. A completed Creative Writing Comps Proposal Cover Sheet.
  2. A full proposal containing:
    • Your Student ID [NOT NAME]
    • A one-paragraph summary of the project, included on the proposal form. An explanation of how the proposed project connects to specific authors, works, genres, or aesthetic schools the student has encountered as an English major. The goal is for you to look beyond your own work, read and think deeply, and understand your work in the context of a larger literary tradition.
    • A writing sample related to the proposed project.  In the case of poetry this would consist of at least three poems; in the case of fiction, a short story or novel chapter; in the case of creative nonfiction, an essay or portion of a longer work in progress.  (These may be materials previously written for a class.)
    • A written statement showing that you have thought deeply and thoroughly about the proposed project.  This statement should include a detailed description of the project
      • For fiction the description might include such nuts-and-bolts matters as what the story’s conflict is; what the time-frame of the story is; how the setting or point-of-view functions in the story; how the writer sees the main character developing as the story unfolds, etc.
      • For creative nonfiction, the description should address such elements as point-of-view, persona, narrative, factual material to be included and constraints of genre (e.g., natural history, memoir or literary reportage).

Examples of successful proposals are in Dropbox.

C. The Final Creative Writing Comps project will consist of:

  1. A 5-page introduction in which you investigate the technical aspects (e.g., narrative structure, point of view, character, voice, imagery) and overall goals of your work to show that you have considered the implications of your creative choices. The introduction should also indicate how such choices fit into relevant literary, historical, and/or cultural contexts.
  2. The finished work of creative writing (a maximum of 60 pages of prose, 30 pages of poetry), due at the end of winter term.
  3. A public reading of part of the creative work at the English Comps Symposium in the spring term.

D. What does an ideal Creative Writing Comps look like?

The Creative Work

  • Displays exceptional insight or originality, and/or sense of scope
  • Work demonstrates mastery of relevant aesthetic forms
  • Writing is of high quality and sophistication
  • Work clearly exhibits (an) extremely effective structure(s)
  • Is almost entirely unencumbered by mechanical error

The Accompanying Essay

  • Clearly articulates a viable goal and compelling rationale for the work
  • Shows mastery of relevant aesthetic and critical concepts, texts, and contexts
  • Is precisely and/or eloquently written
  • Is almost entirely unencumbered by mechanical error

Examples of successful Creative Writing Comps are in Dropbox.