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2020 SAS summer courses will take place remotely. For undergraduates, please check Penn InTouch for updated summer course information. For graduate and professional students, please consult your schools and programs. Summer study abroad remains cancelled.

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Creative Launch Pad: Intro to Making Things Up and Writing Them Down

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Session: 

  • Session B: July 27 – August 6, 2020

Time: 

  • 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Category: 

  • College Prep
  • English and Writing

Instructor: 

  • Melissa Jensen
Module Description: 

This workshop module is intended to bring out the creative writer in everyone, based around lots of reading and writing, some lively discussion, and livelier critique. The goal is to become coherent, compelling storytellers. Because absolutely everyone has a story to tell. We will read—and watch—across genres: fiction and creative nonfiction, prose and verse and script, exploring various approaches to how best to get those stories told. Students will complete a series of quick writing assignments: honing their voice, creating believable story, characters, and language. We will discuss some of these pieces as a group in class.

Each session will begin with a focused lecture from the instructor on the day’s topic: novels, poetry, scripts, etc. We will read topical pieces aloud, view segments from film and television, and discuss as a group what we’ve read and seen as works of creative writing: not just whether we like (or dislike) them, but why? What has the author achieved (or not) through subject, language, form, etc. to compel, entertain, illuminate? In the second week, we will workshop students’ work, offering (guided) insights into what is appealing and works well, and what might benefit from revision.

Recommended Materials:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
(It is advised students read the recommended text in advance of classes.)

Assigned Reading and Viewing:

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Assorted poems, essays, and stories, as well as samples from television and film: may include current music and film reviews, Sherlock and Stranger Things, song lyrics by Colin Meloy and Talib Kweli, poems from Shakespeare to Yeats to Angelou

Writing assignments:

Students will complete one short response piece and two creative pieces over the session, based on a choice of topics provided by the instructor.

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