Honours Class creative writing: ‘Stories are everywhere’
'Writing is not science, but art,' Lucas van Osenbruggen says. Last semester, he attended the Honours Class 'Creative Writing'. Together with his teacher Pauline Slot, he looks back on a course that is 'really different'.
Creative Writing is a Bachelor Honours Class (5 EC) that students take alongside their regular studies. In eight weeks, participants gain insight into how stories affect readers and learn the main story forms and storytelling techniques. In addition, they practice conceiving, structuring and writing stories themselves. Each student eventually writes two short stories, which this year for the first time were also bundled into one major story collection.
The combination of analysing stories and the writing itself was what appealed most to student Lucas van Osenbruggen. As a computer science student, it is something different from what he deals with on a daily basis. 'I am normally concerned with things that are fully understood and explainable. Stories, however, are about people and things you can't always understand. It's fun to read things, but I was also curious about the author's perspective. Taking on that role also made me look at stories differently.'
'In the end, writing is about feelings,' Lucas continues. He himself wrote two stories during his participation. That was an exciting process. 'The natural reaction of readers is to seek for something recognisable. They ask me if a story is not partly autobiographical. You feel inclined to deny that, but in a way it is about yourself. Having people reading it, is like starting a personal conversation with someone you don't know.'
'You need to make it attractive to readers'
Teacher Pauline Slot recognises Lucas's feeling. According to her, stories are an opportunity to engage others in how you see the world. 'You tell little stories all day long. For example, when you tell about your day at home in the evening, that too is already a story with a structure. That is similar to the stories that emerge when we put more thought into it.' During the course, students learn what they need to write a good story.
'But readers are busy with their own lives,' Pauline explains. 'So you have to offer them something. You need to make it attractive for them to enter your story.' To achieve that, technique is needed. According to Pauline, writing is a real profession. Because how do you write a great sentence? And how do you actually build a suspenseful story line?
Outside the box
However, the idea is not that you should be able to write a novel after participating in the course. Instead, according to Pauline, the aim is to gain knowledge relevant to any field or study. 'When you write a business or scientific text, you convey information. But stories convey experiences. You can also really use that as a scientist.'
Lucas agrees. 'You get a perspective on stories in a broad sense. It is good to think outside the box of your education, with a subject that is really different. Because even within computer science you have to be able to tell stories to customers, or do research.' He therefore gained a lot from his participation. 'And of course eventually everyone has to write a thesis,' he jokes.
Text: Robin Buijs
Read their stories!
Curious what students have written? You can read the stories of last year's course in the bundle De Bierflat in Leiden - korte verhalen uit het vak Creative Writing (in Dutch).
- De Roodomrande Enveloppe, Annelijn Vermaes
- Pizza Margherita, Cloë Otten
- Bert, Cloë Otten
- Een Onwaarschijnlijke Vriend, Fleur Griede
- Treinrit om je Dood om te Lachen, Fleur Griede
- De Reünie, Foppe van Berkel
- De Supermarkt, Foppe van Berkel
- De Betekenis van de Wind, Frankie Pulleman
- Zijn Omhelzing, Frankie Pulleman
- Wennen, Job van Lobenstein
- Weg, Job van Lobenstein
- Rijntje, Karlijn Geurts
- Saquinus Sirenus, Karlijn Geurts
- Tussen Licht en Donker, Laura van der Pluijm
- De Weg naar de Tempel der Elementen, Laura van der Pluijm
- Het Perfecte Plaatje, Laura van der Zwet
- Toekomstdromer, Laura van der Zwet
- Het Einde van de Ruimte, Lucas van Osenbruggen
- Diep Geworteld, Lucas van Osenbruggen
- Lege Dozen, Mare van den Heuvel
- Een Luisterend Oor, Mare van den Heuvel
- Een Reünie met mijn Emoties, Maud Bouter
- Golden Girl, Maud Bouter
- 120 BPM, Merel Wever
- De Yûjo, Merel Wever
- Stijgen en Dalen, Veerle Zijleman
- Zondenflat, Wouter Oostdijk
- Terugreizen, Wouter Oostdijk
Please note: The bundle is not to be sold or otherwise distributed without the explicit permission of the authors.