Creative Writing


Introduction to Fiction Workshop | Introduction to Poetry Workshop
(For 7-8th Grade Students and New 9th Grade Students)

  • Focus: Generating work in different forms and genres; reading advanced (but age-appropriate) poetry and literary fiction these students probably wouldn’t read on their own; getting acclimated to sharing, analyzing, and talking about peer works in progress in a supportive, encouraging environment—i.e., strong emphasis will be placed on describing the work and appreciating its strengths.

Fiction Workshop | Poetry Workshop | Creative Nonfiction Workshop | Senior Thesis Workshop
(For 9-12th Grade Students)

  • Focus: Generating original new work; sharing, analyzing, and talking about peer works in progress in a supportive, constructively critical environment. Readings will augment/amplify concepts addressed in workshop; outside reading load will be relatively moderate—i.e., generally speaking, packets of exemplary individual poems, short stories, nonfiction pieces, and/or craft essays that can be read in a single sitting.


Forms of Fiction | Forms of Poetry (Prosody) | Forms of Creative Nonfiction
(For 9-10th Grade Students)

  • Focus: Reading and analyzing a range of primarily contemporary (late 20th C. to present) literature within a given genre in order to give younger high school students a more extensive background and vocabulary in literary writing. Students will generate a fair amount of critical/analytical writing in response to course readings as they also create new work modeled after the course texts and in response to course concepts. This is not a workshop; students will not be required to regularly critique peer works in progress for Forms courses. The emphasis will instead be on exposing students to new texts, authors, and concepts, and for students to think critically about the material and to experiment with using course materials as new models for their own work without too much concern for how those experiments will be received by an audience.


ASFA-CW Practicums are project-based courses designed to give upper-level ASFA-CW students (11-12th Grade) the opportunity to make practical application of what they have learned in our program. Equal parts seminar, independent study, and internship, these courses require students to take responsibility for their own creative process while also working side-by-side (and sometimes in collaboration with) other students.

Practicum I

(For 11th Grade Students)

  • Focus: “Authorship” and the writer’s life, with special attention on helping students plan for and begin to develop an autonomous writing life that can last beyond their time at ASFA. Topics for discussion will include the pros and cons of submitting work for contests and publication; a general overview of the “business” of writing; exploring different publication venues and contest opportunities; and striking the proper balance between nurturing a healthy, sustainable writing process and publishing and promoting finished work. Students in this course are expected to begin conceptualizing their senior thesis, and therefore the group will periodically discuss the challenges/discoveries inherent in that process. There is also a college advising component to this course, with an eye toward preparing students for their continued study of writing at the collegiate level (and beyond). Finally, these students are responsible for coordinating a range of ASFA-CW community service projects, including conceiving and producing a fundraising event for the department, helping to promote and celebrate their peers' spring semester readings, and other similar activities in the community at large.   

Practicum II

(For 12th Grade Students)

  • Focus: In the final semester of their senior year, ASFA-CW seniors are responsible for producing Cadence, the department's award-winning literary magazine. Time will also be devoted to producing their respective senior readings and finalizing and defending their senior theses.   


Periodically throughout the school year, students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in various writing-related special topics electives under the guidance of ASFA faculty or guest lecturers. Ranging from one to six weekly sessions, ASFA-CW short courses allow students and faculty to explore emergent areas of interest that augment the formal curriculum in an informal setting that encourages curiosity, creativity, and experimentation. Previous short course topics have included horror films, humor writing, comparative myth, and the use of social media as a platform for community activism.    


Each year, all ASFA-CW students give a public reading of their work on campus, and they submit their work for inclusion in CadenceStudents are also required to submit and defend a thesis of original creative work during their senior year.