Creative Imitations

Imitating the style of other writers can help you improve your own writing. Creative Imitation involves examining passages from expert stylists and trying to emulate them, substituting different subject matter but trying to imitate the exact grammatical structures, lengths and rhythms of the sentences, and the tones of the original.

First, analyze the style of the passage. Consider the length and complexity of the sentence structures, the level of the vocabulary, the voice or persona of the author, and the specific tone of the original passage.

Then, explore a new topic using the sentence structures and kinds of words used in the original. Try to imitate the original phrase by phrase and sentence by sentence.

You will compose 10 creative imitations over the course of the semester. In each case, you should try to emulate the style as closely as possible while substituting a different subject matter. You can find the models for your imitations on the class website:

Keep all your imitations to submit in your portfolios. You will revise two of your imitations for your Mid-Term Portfolio and four imitations for your Course Portfolio.

Due Dates:

Passages to Imitate


1/20 “Care of the Seasick”


1/27 “The Battle of Agincourt” or “The Boys’ Ambition”


2/1 “11800 Twinlakes Drive” or “My Neighborhood”


2/22 “Victoria” or “The Welch’s Grape Girl”


3/3 “King James I” or “Dr. Thomas Rude”
3/10 Mid-Term Portfolio


3/22 “England” or “Forks”


3/24 “Hollins Pond” or “Tanzanian Peaberry coffee beans”


4/14 “Naples” or “The Bordeaux Country”


4/19 “Medieval Man” or “The Elephant’s Trunk”


4/28 “Boxing” or “A Good Appetite”
5/5 Course Portfolio

Page Last Updated: 18 August 2011