CREATIVE WRITING 101
Universidad Iberoamericana
UNIBE

Mission: To promote academic excellence, research, and the development of highly qualified professionals with the required leadership, creativity, and ethical values to succeed in an ever-changing local and global environment.
Values:  Meaningful learning, Independent learning, and Collaborative learning.
Academic Pillars: Leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, innovation, competency-based instruction, and community service.

Prof. Pedro Cabiya, Ph.D.
email: pedro.cabiya@gmail.com

COURSE DESCRIPTION

We will explore what constitutes writing freely and creatively in the genres of short fiction and screenwriting, guiding ourselves by the mythic structure of the hero’s journey, discovered by Joseph Campbell. We will write 3 major projects: 1. A short story (10-12 pages); 2. A movie treatment; 3. A short film script (20 pages). We will workshop student work in each class. At the end of the term, students are required to hand in all work, revised, proofread and polished in a Portfolio suitable for publication.

COMPETENCIES

  • Creative thinking
  • Planning
  • Organization
  • Group work
  • Logical reasoning

COURSE OBJECTIVES

Students will learn the basic structure of narrative, following the beats and rhythms of archetypical elements present in all human narratives. The will put in practice producing short-fiction, movie treatments and a short movie script.

CONTENT DESCRIPTION

Students are expected to read The Writer’s Journey. Students are further expected to keep a Journal of daily entries of their original writing and for class exercises. (Sample Journal entry class exercises: 1. Narrate a “real” dream in 500 words or describe your room or neighborhood; 2. Write a poem based on the images in the dream or your description; 3. Write another poem based on a photograph of your own; 4. Write 10 more poems on any subject, in any form; no rhyme or meter needed; no rules, just right for you; avoid clichés and Hallmark variety poems. To be original, follow your inner imagery. It is okay if you write “prose” poems. 5. Write a Short Story of 10-12 pages based on something personal, something anchored in reality to get “real” characterization. It should have dialogue, description, and conflict. Tell a story which can only be uniquely yours; 6. Compose a short film script 20 pages).

COURSE CONTENT

Date Topic Assignment

Week 1

The Hero’s Journey – An Introduction

Identify the basic mythic structure of the Hero’s Journey in five stories. Discussion. Journal exercise.

Week 2

The Hero or protagonist: action is character, motivation, imbalance, personality, polarity.

Design a main character. Discussion. Journal exercise

Week 3

The Ordinary World: comfort zone, vices, flaws…

Describe the ordinary world in five movies. Design the main character’s world. Discussion. Journal exercise.

Week 4

Archetypes: The Herald, The Mentor, Allies

Identify these archetypes in movies. Design their participation in original work. Discussion. Journal exercise.

Week 5

Archetypes: The Shapeshifter, the Shadow

Identify these archetypes in movies of different genres. Design for original narrative. Discussion. Journal exercise.

Week 6

Tests, Enemies and Ordeals: shaping the hero’s character.

Identify these narrative stages in movies of different genres. Discussion. Journal exercises.

Week 7

The Inmost Cave: approaching the culmination of the adventure.

Identify and recreate this narrative stage. Discussion. Journal exercise.

Week 8

Rewards: awarding, punishing and retribution.

Identify this final stages in movies of different genres. Recreate for original narrative. Discussion. Journal exercise.

Week 9

The Road Back: returning to the Ordinary World, reluctance, final sacrifices.

Identify and discuss this final stage of all narratives. Journal exercises.

Week 10

Resurrection and Return with the Elixir: the Hero’s return, transformation, enlightment, lessons learned.

Identify and discuss the final stage of many narratives. Journal exercises.

Week 12

Writing a movie treatment: fleshing out your story.

Turning the short story or narrative into a barebones movie treatment.

Week 13

Basic screenwriting format

Format your story for cinema. Discussion, exercises.

Week 14

Cinematic structure: hitting the marks, the three act structure, plot points.

Adjust your story for optimal cinematic effect. Discussion, journal exercise.

Week 15

Polishing the script: the final draft of your movie script.

Presentation of portfolio and end of course.

TEACHING METHODOLOGY

Throughout a wide variety of applications, including but not limited to, lectures, interactive assignments, group projects, written assignments, quizzes, and hands-on events; students will experience many aspects of retail marketing.

COURSE RULES

PORTFOLIO. Each student is expected to maintain a portfolio of polished work to be handed in at Midterm and at end of the term for evaluation. The contents of the Portfolio are as follows:

  1. 10-12 pages of short fiction (20%)
  2. 20 pages of film script (20%)

Note: The class is conducted as a workshop which means students read their work for feedback; for this reason, attendance is mandatory, and student feedback is an important part of the final evaluation. Unless otherwise indicated, all writing assignments must be printed on white paper, double spaced and written in 11 Point New Times Roman characters. Portfolios: Students submit Portfolios during Midterm and Finals Week.

JOURNALS. Students are expected to write daily entries (about one side of a standard notebook or a minimum of 250 words). Bring the Journal to class every Saturday for in-class exercises. All Journals will be collected during Finals week for evaluation. (20%)

POLICIES AND ACADEMIC MISCONDUCT. Assignments from the text and other resources are listed below for each class session. Students are expected to be pace their learning according to the posted course assignments. It is expected that interactive learning and teaching will enrich the learning experience of all students, and that each student will work in partnership with the professor to create a positive learning experience for all. Student engagement is a necessary condition for an effective learning experience, and includes contributions to debate and discussion (if any), positive interactive learning with others, and an enthusiastic attitude towards inquiry. Everyone is expected to be a positive contributor to the class learning community, and students are expected to share the responsibility of teaching each other.

Statement of Understanding between Professor and Student

Every student must respect the right of all to have an equitable opportunity to learn and honestly demonstrate the quality of their learning. Therefore, all students must adhere to a standard of academic conduct, demonstrating respect for themselves, their fellow students, and the educational mission of the University. As a student in the College of Business taking this class:

  • I will not represent someone else’s work as my own

  • I will not cheat, nor will I aid in another’s cheating

  • I will be honest in my academic endeavors

  • I understand that if I am found responsible for academic misconduct, I will be subject to the academic misconduct procedures and sanctions as outlined in the Student Handbook

Failure to adhere to the guidelines stated above may result in one of the following:

Expulsion: Permanent separation of the student from the University, preventing readmission to the institution. This sanction shall be recorded on the student’s transcript.
Suspension: Temporary separation of the student from the University for a specific period of time.

EXPECTATIONS OF THIS COURSE. Students are expected to give honest and useful feedback to their peers about the work they present in class. (30%).

GRADING

Course Requirements

Weights

10-12 pages of short fiction (20%)

30%

10-12 pages of film script (20%)

20%

Daily Journal

20%

Attendance/ Student Feedback

30%

Total

100%

Letter Grade Range Letter Grade Range
   A 90-100    D 60-69
   B 80 – 89    F 0-59
   C 70-79

Movies and Books

  • Christopher Vogler, The Writer’s Journey
  • Pedro Cabiya, Malas hierbas
  • Quentin Tarantino, Pulp Fiction
  • Student Journal
  • Inception
  • Alien
  • La guerra del fuego
  • Wall-E
  • Unforgiven
  • Deja-vu

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