This course in literary short story writing acquaints you, the writer, with the art of creative writing in the form of the short story. The focus of the class will be on the techniques associated with writing short fiction such as ‘not knowing’, sense details, linguistic and historical research, epiphany, flow, structure, and point of view among many others. We will discuss readings from critical essays by renowned storywriters and examine writing techniques of exemplary fiction in every class. No previous experience is necessary.
Each week you will focus on a unique aspect of the art of writing (a quality such as flow, techniques of dialogue, or a concept such as “narrative spandrels”, which will provide the structure for the day. Each class will be based around the lecture, a discussion of the readings, writing exercises, and later, workshops.
Students will write at least two short stories during the course, one of which will be polished for the final portfolio. Because creative writing reflects on, engages with, and even produces the concerns of its community we will respond critically to each other’s writing in a workshop setting from weeks five through twelve.
At the end of this course, you will have produced a thoughtful, carefully revised body of creative and critical work. You will have honed your skills in fiction and critical essay writing, and will have learned strategies to make each stage of the drafting and revising process more productive. Through reading and discussing published creative works and critical essays, you will become better acquainted with the many ways writers creatively manipulate the fundamental tools of language. And through sharing your own creative work in a workshop setting, you will be encouraged to innovate with those tools yourself.
Short story reading. Familiarise yourself with the many modes of fictional storytelling. Learn to read as a writer with an eye for significant detail, structure, methods of direct and indirect characterisation, and theme.
Classes will include a lecture on an element of craft coupled with close analysis of these elements from the assigned readings, discussions around topics based on articles by established writers, generative writing activities, and creative fiction workshops.
Assessment for this course is 100% coursework including a craft essay, 1-2 pieces of creative fiction, and drafts thereof.
Readings include selected stories by writers Stuart Dybek, Haruki Murakami, Vladimir Nabokov, Flannery O’Connor, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, among many others, along with essays and articles by the likes of Andre Dubus, Flannery O’Connor, and Robert Olen Butler.