UNM Los Alamos

Creative Writing Certificate

Creative Writing Certificate

Registration details will be available soon. Please contact Community and Workforce Partnerships Manager audreysinclair@unm.edu for more information.

Introduction to Screenplay Writing – 12 hours, 4 weeks

Do you have a passion for storytelling and an interest in visual media? If so, our 5-week Screenplay Writing class is perfect for you. In this workshop, you will learn the fundamentals of narrative screenwriting to create captivating stories for film, television, and other visual media. Develop your creativity and writing abilities and take your first step towards a career in writing for the screen.

Through a combination of film analysis, writing exercises, and cinematic techniques, you will gain valuable skills to write compelling characters, build plot, story structure, dialogue, and themes. By the end of this course, you will have written a short film script and gained valuable experience in the art of screenwriting. Our instructor will guide you through a conceptualization process to develop dimensional characters, dynamic scenes, and shape your story. You will learn how to craft a story that supports visual media and engage your audience through vivid storytelling techniques.

Whether you are an aspiring screenwriter, filmmaker, or simply interested in the art of storytelling, this class is suitable for all levels of experience. You will walk away with a comprehensive understanding of screenwriting skills and techniques that can be applied to various types of visual media. Join us today and bring your stories to life on the big screen!


Learner Outcomes

  • Develop a strong premise for a screenplay.
  • Apply techniques of film scenes from script to screen to your own writing.
  • Learn how to present a strong pitch to industry professionals.
  • Demonstrate basic skills to write a professionally formatted screenplay.
  • Understand the basic screenwriting elements.
  • Prepare the first ten pages of a feature length screenplay.
  • Understand the business aspects of film writing, including market trends and industry standards.

Creative Writing I – 9 hours, 3 weeks

This class will unleash your creativity and take your writing skills to the next level. This course covers craft elements such as, imagery, voice, character, scene, summary, and setting in the fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction genres. Through weekly readings and discussions, you will develop the skills and techniques needed to pinpoint what makes a piece of writing memorable. You will also learn the importance of clear, concise, and grammatically correct writing, regardless of your audience or purpose. By reviewing common grammar pitfalls and literary essays as examples of effective syntax and coherent structure, you will gain a deeper understanding of the writing process.

In a supportive, focused workshop environment you will share your own writing and review your classmates’ writing critically and thoughtfully. You will also be able to write with greater clarity, coherence, and grammatical accuracy, no matter the audience or purpose. At the end of this course, you will have a better understanding of the key elements of good writing, and you will be able to apply these elements to a variety of genres. We look forward to helping you improve your writing skills and become a more effective and confident writer.


Learner Outcomes:

  • Students will develop proficiency in using imagery, voice, character, setting, and theme to craft compelling stories.
  • Learn how to use language effectively, following the rules of grammar and syntax to create clear, coherent, and engaging writing.
  • Be able to apply craft elements such as character development, plot structure, and narrative voice to fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.
  • Build confidence in writing and critical reading.
  • Learn how to revise and edit work to create a memorable piece of writing.

Creative Writing II – 9 hours, 3 weeks

Welcome to the Creative Writing Certificate class, where we believe that everyone has a story to tell, and writing should be fun! As a writer, you possess an innate impulse to narrate tales that go beyond specific and limited ideas; you can strive for a universal theme that resonates with people through generations. This class is all about helping you transform that instinct into a craft, by guiding you through the process of writing and getting you accustomed to its forms.

We will begin with short assignments, starting with a short paragraph to two pages, and working with telling stories and reading anthologies. You will learn to read as a writer, with a special eye for prose. The class will share a great love for fiction, speculative fiction, and magical realism and we will focus on simply the act of writing, with paragraph-long short narratives. Like taking a first step into the ocean, we will gently move into writing, taking little steps at first, then another step, and so on, until you are acclimated to what you're doing, and get to love writing. You should always feel like writing is fun.

As time goes on, you may take on more complicated projects, but in the beginning, the assignments are very short. You may even be working in fields like memoir, journal, and diary, which are not necessarily fiction, but can still be used for fiction. Writing is a process, and you will learn to live in the process. While there may be a product in the future, such as a book or a story, the focus is on the journey and the growth that comes from it.

So, if you feel like you are a writer, then you probably are! Join us in this class and let us help you turn that instinct into a skillful craft. Let's have some fun and tell some great stories together!


Learner Outcomes:

  • Identify workable and timeless themes.
  • Retell classic tales into modern short stories.
  • Be able to apply craft elements to fiction to determine your characters, plot, and point of view.
  • Build confidence in writing through experimental writing assignments.
  • Improve your mastery of arcs, beats, and settings of your writing.
  • Create a portfolio of polished writing samples to showcase your writing skills.

Science Fiction Writing I – 12 hours, 4 weeks

This course will take you on a journey to create a captivating and immersive sci-fi or fantasy novel. You will learn the craft of writing genre science fiction, studying and analyzing contemporary science fiction stories alongside lectures and formal writing assignments. You will gain insight into the challenges of writing science fiction, from complex settings to the need to orient readers to an entirely unique world and its rules, to connecting audiences to characters who may not even be human.

Science fiction and fantasy novels have inspired some of the most beloved, successful, and long-lived media franchises. However, writing speculative fiction can be daunting. This course provides both aspiring and experienced writers with the genre-specific tools necessary to plan and begin their sci-fi or fantasy novel. You will focus on establishing a new world and its characters in the first pages of the book, working on foundational skills like characterization and pacing as well as the world-building skills unique to this genre of fiction.

Throughout the course, you will participate in roundtable workshops where you will receive constructive feedback on your writing from your peers and instructor. This is an opportunity to refine your writing skills and create a polished piece of work. By the end of the course, you will have completed a compelling opening, a first chapter of up to 12 pages, and a preliminary outline for your entire book. While you write your first chapter, the workshop provides you with the chance to receive feedback and support as you develop your writing skills.

Join us today, and let's work together to build your world and tell your story!


Learner Outcomes:

  • Understand the conventions that make science fiction and fantasy novels work.
  • Exercise your writing muscles and get feedback on a story concept.
  • Build foundational skills like word building, pacing, and characterization.
  • Complete your outline and develop a synopsis for your novel.
  • Begin writing the first 12 pages of your first chapter.

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