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FICT 65 — Fiction Writing: Discovering and Working with Your Best Material

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Mondays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 25—Dec 4
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 8
Units: 3
Tuition: $660
Instructor(s): Angela Pneuman
Limit: 21
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on November 20
On-campus course
6:30—9:20 pm
Sep 25—Dec 4
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 8
3 Units
Angela Pneuman
Please Note: No class on November 20
Where do we find the most compelling material for fiction? The hidden possibilities of drama may be cloaked behind what’s most familiar to us, or they may be roaming around in the farthest reaches of our imagination. This course works on the premise that all material, even the most inventive, comes out of close attention to memory, experience, and the everwidening circles of our imagination. Learning how to coax the best material into consciousness—again and again—is a big part of the writing life.

In this course, students will have the chance to discover and work with their own fiction material. Brief in-class and take-home writing exercises are designed to stimulate memory and the imagination, and to emphasize how both are inextricable from language. Mini-lectures will help build a vocabulary around elements of storytelling like character, point of view, and conflict. We will also look at short stories and novel excerpts from masterful writers such as Julie Otsuka, Tobias Wolff, and Yiyun Li. In addition to select small group work, each student will have the chance to workshop a short story or pages from a novel for instructor and group feedback. This course works well for anyone at work on a novel or a short story—or anyone who wants to start.

Angela Pneuman, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Angela Pneuman is the author of the novel Lay It on My Heart and the short story collection Home Remedies. Her fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Iowa Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, and the Los Angeles Review, and she is a contributor to Salon, The Believer, and The Rumpus. She received an MFA in writing from Indiana University and a PhD in English from SUNY Albany.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird (ISBN 0385480016)
(Required) Lorrie Moore, Best American Short Stories 2004 (ISBN 0618197354)