Creative Writing

The Creative Writing program offers a four-year course of study as well as year-long writing workshops for talented and disciplined students who aspire to be writers. With the addition of Academic Studio, there is also now a four-year course of study for students who join NOCCA as freshmen. The faculty selects students on the basis of demonstrable writing promise, overall academic performance and enthusiasm for literature. They must show open-mindedness, discipline, maturity, imagination and strong self-motivation in respect to their creative work and to their education as a whole.

In classes concentrating on aesthetic quality and technique, students study novels, short and long stories, poems, drama, book reviews and other nonfiction and films. They discuss and analyze literature, then apply that knowledge to their own writing. Students write almost every day and are given exercises that encourage both imaginative and technically skilled work. While a wide variety of authors are used as models, NOCCA writers are encouraged to develop their own voice and style. During class and the more structured workshop sessions, they receive feedback from peers, instructors and visiting artists toward revision of their work.

The curriculum reinforces the demands of a career in writing by encouraging self-discipline, the meeting of deadlines and professionalism regarding peers, instructors and one’s own work. Having established a solid foundation with their own craft, students also participate in collaborative projects with other NOCCA arts disciplines to enhance the understanding of their writing and its relationship to other forms and to expose them to the possibilities of art in general.

Audition Expectations

Include with your completed application:

(1) An original work of creative writing. This can be a poem or short story that you have spent time revising, and that you consider to be an example of your best work. (2) A list of books you have read over the past three months. The list should include the title and author of each book. (3) A creative work (poem or short story) that describes what you see outside a window in your house. Please include sensory details (how things look, smell, taste, sound, or feel) and at least one simile or metaphor. Limit: 10 lines of poetry or 100 words of fiction. (4) An essay discussing a poem, short story or novel you read that influenced you as a writer. Please tell us how this work/author changed the way you think about writing, and use quotes and examples from the text to support your ideas. The essay should be between 300 and 500 words.

All writing submissions should be typed using a standard 12-point font and black ink. Please proofread your submissions to ensure that they are free from grammatical and spelling errors. Selected students will be asked to advance to the Audition Process.

At the audition:

Students invited to audition must bring an additional writing portfolio consisting of 10 typed pages of original creative writing (poetry or short fiction).

At the audition, students should demonstrate a strong desire to read and write, and a willingness to do more than the work required. Students may be asked to write a short piece assigned by the instructor and/or read aloud and discuss a published poem or story excerpt. All students invited to an audition should be prepared for a one-on-one interview with a faculty member.

Consider these questions prior to your audition date: Why do you want to study writing? Are you willing to spend many hours outside of class on your reading and writing? What do you need to know about NOCCA and the writing program in order to determine if it’s the right fit for you?

Students currently in 8-10th grades are eligible to apply.

Audition Resources

Download the Full Guide


Click Image Above For Complete Story in The NOCCA Institute Newsletter


Click here to view Creative Writing online publication “Umbrat”