Creative Writing Excellence Program
The Creative Writing Excellence Program (CWEP) is a joint initiative between the University of the Sunshine Coast and schools in the Sunshine Coast region, including James Nash High School in Gympie, Aldridge State High School in Maryborough and Urangan State High School in Hervey Bay. The program is financially supported by the participating schools and the Higher Education Participation and Partnership Program (HEPPP).
CWEP is taken into regional schools as an extracurricular excellence program. It aims to raise aspirations and demystify university for students from Years 6–12.
The program entails an eight week course that teaches the basic elements of creative writing to school students who have an interest in the discipline. The teaching model is the short story, with each week’s workshop content focused on a specific element of narrative, giving the students a thorough understanding of how narrative is constructed and the techniques writers apply to create memorable fiction.
In conjunction with the study of the narrative process, students are introduced to a range of short stories, chosen to demonstrate the creative writing techniques discussed during the program. In addition, as reading is a fundamental part of the writing process, students are encouraged to engage deeply with these texts, developing their critical analysis and comprehension skills.
Finally, the CWEP has been designed to provide students with a concrete publishing outcome, reflecting real world/industry experience. Students are required to write a short story of between 1200–1500 words, depending on grade levels (ie grades 6-9: 1200w / grades 10-12: 1500w), which is edited and published in an Anthology at the conclusion of the program. Furthermore, students are encouraged to build an author profile by submitting their writing to selected magazines and competitions.
The student’s achievements are celebrated in Week Nine of the program with a Graduation / Anthology Launch, which is attended by parents, friends and teachers, as well as representatives from USC. During the anthology launch, each student is presented with a bound copy of the anthology as well as a certificate of achievement. The anthology launch also offers an opportunity for students and their carers to provide feedback, which is used to improve the content and delivery of the program.
The CWEP has three main objectives:
- To encourage students-writers to explore and develop their creativity, while enhancing their reading, comprehension and analytical skills. As an adjunct to this objective, the program aims to encourage student-writers to explore career opportunities in the Creative Industries, including in the areas of editing and publishing.
- To introduce students to the university experience with the aim of motivating their educational aspirations and increasing their participation in tertiary education. The CWEP aims to ‘demystify’ the tertiary environment while fostering an understanding of universities as appealing and inclusive organisations providing opportunities for all students.
- To develop long-term, mutually productive partnerships between USC and high schools in the wider Sunshine Coast area, which are beneficial to the students, teachers and their communities, while also developing and enhancing USC’s reputation throughout the region.
A joint initiative of Aldridge State High School and The University of the Sunshine Coast.
|Week / topic||Story for discussion||Workshop stimulus||Workshop exercises||Weekly schedule for home|
|1. Overview of course /
Box of goodies
Creating ‘real’ people
|Lamb to the Slaughter
Tie and Necklace
|Choose three ideas for development|
|3. Structure / plot
Joining the dots
structure in The Hitch Hiker
Creating logical plots
|Choose one idea; begin narrative|
First 200 words due next week.
Giving character’s voice
Robert R McCammon
|What it’s Like
Writing inside character
|Email first 200 words to Maria|
The ‘other’ character
|An Act of God
|Love Field(short film)||The Barn: Significant detail
using the senses
|Edited 200 words returned (via email).|
Polishing the rough
|Rejection(short film)||Matthew Reilly editing exercise
Man Overboard discussion
|Email rough draft to Maria|
hand in Check Sheet
Saying something worthwhile
Symbolism and Allusion
|Singing my Sister Down
|American Beauty(Montage)||Writers’ Tennis – theme exercise
|Edited draft returned (via email)|
Edit your story
|8. Where to Now?
Publication and practice
|Don’t Look Behind You
|Email final story to Maria|
Two students from CWEP have supplied their stories as examples of the quality work that is produced within the program.
For more information on the Creative Writing Excellence Program contact:
Faculty of Arts and Business