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EGL 45 — Essential Elements for Creative Writers: The Narrative Toolbox

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 24—Dec 3
Time: 6:30—9:00 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 7
Units: 2
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $565
Instructor(s): Lynn Stegner
Limit: 45
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 26
6:30—9:00 pm
Sep 24—Dec 3
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 7
2 Units
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Lynn Stegner
Please Note: No class on November 26
It’s human nature to wonder what makes things tick and stories are no exception. They can seem marvelously mysterious in their workings. This course will break down and examine the many moving parts of narratives and in the process, students will acquire the tools to put them together and make them sing. Great novels, stories, and memoirs are all built using very similar and indispensable elements of composition. With Janet Burroway’s long-esteemed volume Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft as our foundational text, we will study each of these elements in turn, from point of view to plot, dialogue to description, sensory language and dynamic architecture, and more. Through short lectures, discussions of selected readings highlighting specific narrative devices, in-class writing exercises, and oral presentations, students will gain a variety of storymaking skills. How do you breathe life into characters? How do you gather up the past to inform the present, or summon background information to expand on a subject? What is the least intrusive method of weaving in exposition, or the smoothest way to leap ten years in a single sentence? Whether you’re conjuring your first story or you’ve encountered a systemic problem in your fifth book, this course should help sharpen the many tools that produce elegant writing.

Lynn Stegner, Author

Lynn Stegner has published four novels and a collection of stories. Undertow and Fata Morgana were both nominated for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and Pipers at the Gates of Dawn received a Faulkner Society Gold Medal. Her novel Because a Fire Was in My Head was a New York Times Editors’ Choice. She has received an NEA fellowship and a Fulbright scholarship, and is finishing a new novel.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction (Tenth Edition): A Guide to Narrative Craft (ISBN 978-0-226-61669-8 )