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2022 Creative Writing

Creative Writing students explore writing techniques through practice, group discussion, and individual critiquing sessions with faculty. Emphasis is placed on developing a keen awareness of the sound, shape, and connotative possibilities of the written word. Various types of creative writing may be explored, but there will be a strong emphasis on poetry. Applicants should be aware that class discussions are on a collegiate level and may contain mature subject matter. Up to 16 students are accepted.

Writers with strong storytelling abilities and an interest in filmmaking are encouraged to audition for both film & video and creative writing.

Requirements for Applicants

2023 OSAI Audition Information Coming Soon!

1. Create an account and complete an online application. If you have applied to OSAI before, you can log in to an existing account.

2. Read the guidelines and tips below to prepare your writing samples.

3. Choose a sample of your creative writing work to submit, no more than five pages.

4. Create a new piece of creative writing, no more than three pages, that incorporates the required elements (as outlined in the Writing Submission Guidelines below).

5. Log back in to your application portal to upload your writing submissions no later than noon on Monday, February 14. Word document and PDF uploads are limited to 160 MB.

Writing Submission Guidelines

Your writing submission upload must contain no more than 8 pages of your creative writing (up to 5 pages of previously written work and up to 3 pages of new work written with required audition elements). Applicants who submit more than 5 pages of previously written work and/or more than 3 pages of new work will be disqualified.

The new work created for this audition should be one cohesive piece of writing, no more than 3 pages in length, and must contain all of the following elements: an unpleasant smell, a road or street, and a plant. While these elements do not need to be the central basis for your writing, you must thoughtfully incorporate them into your work. Avoid introducing these three things in a superficial or offhanded way.

Requirements for all writing submissions:

  • May be any combination of poetry, fiction, personal essay, and/or an excerpt from a longer work.
  • Must have been written AFTER March 1 of prior year, and former OSAI students may not submit work written during OSAI.
  • Ensure there is no identifying information included in your writing submission. (Please leave your name off the document.)
  • Order pages as follows: The first pages (up to 5) should be your previously written work and the last pages (up to 3) should be your newly created work for this audition that includes the three required elements.
  • Must be in a single typed document, in 12-point font, and saved as either .pdf or .doc. (.pdf is preferred; .doc is acceptable.)
  • Once you are ready to submit your writing submission, do not worry about the file name. The OSAI audition portal will automatically rename the file for you.

Audition Tips

Focus on quality over quantity; it is better to have a finely crafted two-stanza poem or a one-page short story than to submit eight pages of mediocre writing.

Be thoughtful when incorporating the required elements (an unpleasant smell, a road or street, and a plant) into your audition writing. While these elements do not have to be the central focus of your writing, you should avoid sticking them in haphazardly with little connection to the story you are trying to convey.

Read the judging criteria below to see exactly what the writing judges will be looking for in your submission!

Judging Criteria

Creative writing auditions are blind, i.e. judges will not have access to applicants' names, ages, hometowns, or other identifying information.
Grammar, spelling, and punctuation – 10%
Are departures from conventional sentence structure and spelling functional or simply signs of immaturity?
Inventiveness – 20%
Is there originality and depth of concept?
Use of language – 15%
Is there well-crafted expression in language (denotative and connotative)? Does the applicant show an ability to use concrete language? Does the applicant avoid overreliance on vague or abstract language?
Achievement of personal voice – 20%
Are there apparent advances beyond cliche, conventional formulae of situation, character and idea? Does the writing reflect an engagement with or awareness of literature, culture or world affairs?
Integration of form and content – 15%
How well do the language, rhythm, and sound work to make advances in inventiveness and personal voice?
Potential – 20%
Could the student achieve excellence with appropriate training at OSAI? Does the applicant seem to show an artistic ability that may or may not yet be developed?
Funding for the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute creative writing program is generously provided, in part, by the Neustadt Charitable Trust Writing Endowment Fund.