One in Two, Creative Writing 2, that is


Photo by Alyssa Urayanza

Senior Faith Owan poses with her Creative Writing II textbook titled “The Art of the Tale: An International Anthology of Short Stories” edited by Daniel Halpern. Owan was the only student enrolled in Creative Writing 2, a little-known distance learning course available to KSM students.

By Alyssa Urayanza, feature editor

Imagine a class where you’re on your own to do all your work. You go to the Charles Reed Bishop Learning Center, you crack open your books and read, and you open your laptop to write and submit your assignments and take your tests. That’s how the only KS Maui distance learning course in the current course catalog–Creative Writing 2–operates.

Senior Faith Owan was the only student enrolled in the class this year.

“There have been years with as many as four and as few as none [enrolled students]” said Ms. Haina, the course instructor.

Creative Writing 2 is a course that is offered to juniors and seniors. Students may automatically enroll after completing Creative Writing 1, or may be enrolled upon Ms. Haina’s recommendation, depending on individual circumstances.

“The courses don’t necessarily build on each other,” Ms. Haina said, “so in the case of exceptionally talented students who, for some reason, need to take 2 instead of 1, I can recommend their enrollment.”

Creative Writing 2 differs from Creative Writing 1 in several ways. Creative Writing 2 is an independent course that allows students to work by themselves on their own assignments, as compared to Creative Writing I, which is class-based and taught traditionally as a group. Ms. Haina oversees and grades the assignments for both classes.

In Creative Writing 1, students read poems and short stories together, and then write their own pieces based on the works they have read in class. They also share their work aloud and on blogs and write a novel.

According to the Creative Writing Course Catalog, Creative Writing 2 is a class that offers practice in writing skills and structures for the student interested in a general knowledge of creative writing, and helps to prepare the committed student writer for further study in the field. The goal of Creative Writing 2 is to improve students’ writing skills and techniques in regard to fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction.

After taking Creative Writing 1 in her junior year, Owan wanted to try her hand in Creative Writing 2.

“I chose this class because I really wanted to fill up my schedule with as many Literary Arts endorsements as I could because I really love Ms. Haina’s classes,” Owan said.

Owan said that she would go to the library every class day, and she was given a binder full of readings and assignments, as well as a set of literature textbooks. In the library, she would have to read the lessons and literature and turn in the assignments online every Wednesday and Friday.

Creative Writing 2 involves a lot more reading than Creative Writing 1. According to Owan, she had a reading assignment every week. She would have to read a chapter or lesson and then summarize it, take a quiz, or write something based on it.

“It was a lot more academic in a way because you are learning about different authors as well as doing your own writing,” Owan said, “It was a lot more self-run [than Creative Writing 1].”

According to Ms. Haina, statistics show that only about 10% of students enrolled in courses like these, known as distance learning courses, are successful, but if you are a creative writer who is self-motivated, this could be a course for you.

Owan said that she definitely recommends this class to future junior and senior students.

As part of a final assessment, students from both classes are required to participate in an end-of-course performance called We Digress…Live. At this event, students read excerpts from short stories and poems that they have written to an audience of invited guests (see the accompanying video).