FICT 69 W — Fiction Workshop: Elements of the Short Story
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 20—Dec 3
Refund Deadline: Sep 23
Instructor(s): Chris Drangle
Class Recording Available: Yes
Writing a novel can be exhausting, like battling your way through an entire 162-game baseball season. And yet writing a short story—playing in just one game—requires all the same fundamentals: a coherent point of view, interesting characters, a plot that drives action and conflict, and a setting that accentuates the story. Whether your goal is to use short fiction as a stepping-stone toward larger projects or to strive for the unique satisfaction that only a polished short story can provide, this course will offer an introduction to the basic building blocks of short narrative. In the first half of the quarter, we will acquaint ourselves with some classics of the form—a few old, a few new—while we warm up our craft muscles with an assortment of prompts and exercises. In the second half, we will turn our attention to student work, using the workshop and letter-writing model to offer each writer the opportunity to receive constructive criticism and thoughtful feedback on a full-length story draft. For models and wisdom, we will look to writers like Deborah Eisenberg, George Saunders, Kirsten Valdez Quade, and Vladimir Nabokov. By the end of the course, each student will have a story draft in hand, a pile of ideas in their notebook, and a toolbox of craft techniques to support whatever project comes next.
Chris Drangle has taught English and creative writing at Cornell, where he was an assistant editor at EPOCH magazine. He has received a Bread Loaf Writers Conference scholarship and a Jentel Artist Residency. His fiction has received the Pushcart Prize and appeared in Granta, the Oxford American, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He received an MFA from Cornell.
Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford
Textbooks for this course:
There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.