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2020 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. 15-16 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

1. Complete an online application and schedule your audition no later than noon the weekday before your desired audition date. See dates in right side bar or view full audition schedule here. Audition spaces fill quickly, so schedule as soon as possible.

2. Bring a government-issued I.D. or birth certificate to your audition for age verification purposes.

3. Read below guidelines and tips to prepare for your audition.

4. Arrive at your audition at least 15 minutes early to check in. The audition consists of a two-hour writing exercise with provided inspirational pieces.

You must bring the following items:

  • A writing sample (see submission requirements below)
  • Headphones or earbuds with a jack (Bluetooth headphones are not compatible with mp3 players provided at the audition.)

Paper, pencils, dictionaries, thesauruses, and mp3 players will be provided. Applicants may not use any other writing materials, reference books, or electronic devices (including cell phones) during the audition.

Writing Submission Guidelines

  • The writing sample consists of up to FIVE (5) PAGES of your creative writing. Samples must be typed and in 12-point font and NOT stapled. Pages must be single-sided (print on the front of the page only — not front and back). Samples consisting of more than five pages will not be accepted.
  • All writing submitted must have been written AFTER March 1 of prior year. (Former OSAI students may not submit work written at OSAI.)
  • The writing sample may be any combination of poetry, fiction, personal essay, and/or an excerpt from a longer work.
  • DO NOT write your name on your writing sample. You will be assigned a number at your audition.

What to Expect at Your Audition

  • When you arrive at your audition, you will be provided with several images of artwork and an audio file (via an mp3 player) from which to draw inspiration. You will draw inspiration from one or more of these items to write any form of creative writing you wish (e.g. a poem or story).
  • You will receive approximately 15 minutes of instruction/guidance followed by two hours of writing time. If you complete your writing early, you may leave the audition when you are finished.

Audition Tips

How the creative writing audition works:

  • You may write in any form of creative writing you wish (e.g. a poem or story) with one exception: no screenplays.
  • Before you begin writing, you will be provided with an audio file and pieces of artwork to choose from. Your live writing must be inspired by at least one of the subjects provided. Do NOT simply describe the artwork/audio or try to directly comment on it. Rather, use the artwork/audio as a jumping-off point for your imagination.
  • For example, you could:

    – Focus on a painting’s concept or theme
    – Write a story about the subject of a piece of art
    – Imagine a backstory for the artist
    – Write the story the audio file seems to be telling

  • You will have two hours to write, and you may leave when finished.

We recommend that you:

  • Stick with your choice of inspiration.
  • Remember, quality is more important than quantity. It is better to have a finely crafted two-stanza poem or a one-page short story than to produce 10 pages of mediocre writing.

We do not recommend that you:

  • Simply describe the art/audio
  • Explain your opinion on the art/audio
  • Critique the art/audio

Writing samples:

  • Please bring the correct number of pages! Often, students bring samples that are too long and must make quick decisions about which pages to submit.

Judging Criteria

• Grammar, spelling, and punctuation – 10%
• Inventiveness – 20%
• Use of language – 15%
• Achievement of personal voice – 20%
• Integration of form and content – 15%
• Potential – 20%

Read general information about our adjudication procedures here.

Funding for the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute creative writing program is generously provided, in part, by the Neustadt Charitable Trust Writing Endowment Fund.