Humber’s Creative Writing – Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry graduate certificate program is a distance studio program offering aspiring writers the exceptional opportunity to work at home. There are no formal classes on site. Individual courses are offered in a non-traditional way with a distinguished faculty member critiquing your work of creative non-fiction, fiction, book of short stories or volume of poetry. The program is intended for students working on book-length projects. The program is customized to address the particular needs of your manuscript and may include assessments of your handling of plot, story, character, dialogue, pace and style, or may focus on the particular needs of the manuscript as determined by the writing advisor. Graduates have the satisfaction of completing a large body of work which may include all or parts of a novel, volume of short stories or a book of poetry. Students are also referred to writing competitions.
Humber is noted for its exceptional faculty including authors of world stature. This faculty list has included Edward Albee, Martin Amis, Peter Carey, Miriam Toews, David Mitchell, Nino Ricci, David Adams Richards, the late Timothy Findley, Paul Quarrington, the late Carol Shields and Alistair MacLeod. Forthcoming international authors include Samantha Harvey and Tim O’Brien.
A virtual café exists through Blackboard, Humber’s online learning system, to encourage writing students to interact and build a sense of community.
Upon successful completion of the program, a graduate will:
• Analyze personal and recognized works of fiction and creative non-fiction for form and structure and delineate story features such as conflict, crisis and resolution. Students should be able to differentiate between story and plot and compare various types of conflict used in story writing. Students will explore various methods of plotting a work of fiction such as working backward from the climax, working forward from the initial interaction or borrowing from tradition.
• Distinguish the qualities of short stories versus novels.
• Evaluate personal and recognized works of fiction for the inclusion of techniques used in creative writing for making narrative an emotional experience. These techniques include the use of significant detail, active voice, and strategies for establishing cadence, rhythm and prose. In addition, students will be expected to be masters of the mechanics of writing and demonstrate the correct use of spelling, punctuation and grammar.
• Assess personal and recognized works of fiction for characterization and the techniques used for establishing character credibility and complexity. Students will explore how character motivation is revealed and how characters are presented both directly and indirectly.
• Outline and compare personal and recognized methods for establishing setting and atmosphere in stories as well as techniques used for adjusting narrative time.
• Critique and manipulate the point of view in personal and recognized stories. In their development of point of view, students will develop strategies for deciding who is speaking in their stories and whom they are addressing. In addition, they will determine which techniques best convey the story and determine the best distance between the reader, author and characters. An analysis of point of view also includes the use of spatial and temporal distance and how to include unreliable speakers in the story.
• Evaluate the methods used for developing the theme in personal and recognized stories. They will explore how theme helps dictate the selection and organization of details, style, voice and other elements of the work.
• Evaluate personal and recognized works of fiction and creative non-fiction for unity of effect.
• Recognize and revise weak spots in their writing. They will explore common errors and the technical questions writers should ask themselves as they review and revise their work and apply them to an analysis of plot, characterization, style, setting, narration, dialogue, point of view, structure, clarity, length and originality.
• Conduct the required research to authenticate their story and make it come alive. They will be able to select and use a variety of research methods such as the internet, the library, interviews and site visits.
• Evaluate personal and recognized works of poetry for the poetic tools used to shape and focus ideas and feelings and to create texture and vividness in a poem. These techniques include: devise for rhythm; devices for sound; stanza and poem forms; and imagery and figures of speech.
• Develop a plan for marketing their creative writing and handling the business requirements of being a writer. This will include researching the needs and demands of the market, preparing query letters and/or book proposals, identifying suitable publishers for their work, finding and working with agents, negotiating a contract, submitting their work in suitable formats, setting fees where appropriate, and keeping appropriate records. In addition, they will explore some of the legal aspects of being a writer such as copyright and libel. Students will also develop an awareness of writing awards and competitions as well as writer support programs.
• Identify opportunities to publish freelance works of fiction and creative non-fiction to local, national and international magazines, newspapers, television, film, textbooks, and the Internet. This will include the analysis of the research and publication requirements of a variety of publishers, strategies for introducing ideas and personal works to various media and a thorough understanding of the features of freelance contracts. Students will prepare, review and submit works for freelance submissions.
• Evaluate the elements of successful professional writing careers and develop methods for promoting personal works and developing personal relationships with media contacts. This will include exploring ways to make public appearances and provide public readings of personal works. How to manage interviews and participate in a variety of media events will be examined. Public appearances and public speaking.
• WRIT 5001: Narrative Styles 1
• WRIT 5003: Character, Plot and Stylistic Development
• WRIT 5005: Editing for Publication 1
• WRIT 5007: Issues In Contemporary Writing
• WRIT 5009: Freelance Writing
• WRIT 5500: Narrative Styles 2
• WRIT 5501: Advance Character, Plot and Stylistic Development
• WRIT 5502: Editing for Publication 2
• WRIT 5503: The Business Of Writing
• WRIT 5504: The Writer and The Media
Canadians still love a good read. They spend 14 percent of their leisure time reading, half of which is spent reading books. The main goal of the program is to improve your writing and publication is a possibility for some. Graduates of this program may use their writing and editing skills in a wide variety of careers and professions in addition to writing books. Some of our graduates write for newspapers, magazines, television and other media. More than 300 Humber School for Writers alumni have published books of fiction or poetry and Dr. Vincent Lam, who won the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize for his literary debut Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures, is just one of our distinguished former students. Other alumni have also been on the bestseller lists in Canada: Suzanne Desrochers for Bride of New France, Cathy Marie Buchanan for The Painted Girls and Eva Stachniak for Empress of the Night.
How to apply
Click here to apply: http://humber.ca/admissions/how-apply.html
For information on funding, please use the following link: http://humber.ca/admissions/financial-aid.html