For students interested in learning the art of creative writing, or seeking to expand their skills, Midland College offers a class that teaches students how to revise, edit and write short stories. There are two courses available.
“The faculty is made up of many creative writers,” said Brendan Egan, who teaches fiction and dramatic writing, including screen- and playwriting. “We offer a normal and advanced class simultaneously.”
Poetry is also an option for students enrolled in the course and is taught by MC English professors, Glenda Hicks and Karen Pape.
“It’s a good place to come if you’ve already done some writing before and you just want to be part of a group who enjoys the same thing,” Pape said. “If you’ve had this little idea that you may be creative, and I think all of us are.
If you’ve had this itch to write, this kind of idea that you would like to explore writing or see how it’s done and experiment with it for a while, this is a great place to start.”
The genres of poetry taught by Pape are “what some people call open form, I call free verse and I do a little bit of formal poetry as well,” she said.
“We’ve all read poetry and some of us have already written poetry, but we need to read about the basics and apply them as we write,” Pape said.
The writing course is mainly offered online, but can be taken on campus during the fall semester.
“It’s a lot of fun. It’s enjoyable to engage in a different kind of writing,” Egan said.
The class is worth three credit hours and students are able to register through the MC website or in the registration office on campus. The class is described as “informative and empowering” by Egan.
There are contests for creative writing students who want to submit any of their work, including the Rebecca T. Watson and Hilda Simmons Levitt contests.
The Watson contest accepts poetry, essays and short stories, while the Levitt contest is strictly for poetry.
“Hilda Simmons Levitt is wonderful. It has good prizes and the students are judged by a professional poet, usually one who’s been published,” Pape said. Winners of the contests receive plaques, certificates and possibly money.
Troy Lira, an MC student who has taken Egan’s creative writing class said, “It’s beneficial, especially if you’re a writer or even an artist in general to give you more perspective on being creative, being spontaneous. I took creative writing because I enjoy writing essays and thought it would be cool to learn how to write more short stories.”
The class helped his musical pursuits. “I gained more confidence as a writer. It actually helped me in my music to write clearly, more creatively, more expressive,” Lira said.
His experience with Egan as an English instructor was one of the main reasons Lira took the class. “I loved the guy. He’s great,” he said.
The class has been part of the English department for years, but Egan said the instructors are making a push to expand the creative writing program.
The instructors who teach the classes are eager to gain more students so that they can help them improve in areas in which they wish to excel.
The creative writing program encourages anyone with a passion for expressing ideas or who desire a career in the writing field to enroll.