FICT 32 W — Fiction Writing: Five Beginnings, One Ending
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Mar 29—Jun 4
Refund Deadline: Apr 1
Instructor(s): Nami Mun
Starting a story or a novel is not unlike standing at the edge of a cliff. Both can be terrifying. There are many reasons not to dive into that project. "My ideas are terrible," one might think. Or, "I don't know where to begin." Or, "Is this really a good time to start something new?" In this course, we will hold hands at the writing cliff for moral support but also to push each other off (gently). Some might tiptoe. Others might cannonball. And still others might swan dive into that abyss. But no matter our varying degrees of fear, we will, without a doubt, leave that ledge and land on our feet as better writers and better risk-takers. For the first five weeks, we will analyze notable beginnings and ask such questions as: What propels the story forward? What stings us? What questions are being raised that can't be easily answered? We will study works by Toni Morrison, Edward P. Jones, Nam Le, Tobias Wolff, Yuri Herrera, Pyun Hye-young, and others. Then we will write five propulsive and perhaps unrelenting beginnings of our own. The goal isn't only to practice the "art of diving," but to have five projects already in free fall so that we'll have prose to develop long after the course's end. The final five weeks will focus on developing one of those beginnings into a polished story or chapter. So the question is: Is this a good time to start something new? The answer is: always.
This course is appropriate for writers of all experience levels.
Nami Mun, Author; Artist in Residence, Northwestern UniversityNami Mun is the author of the novel Miles from Nowhere, which received the Whiting Award, the Pushcart Prize, and the Chicago Public Library’s 21st Century Award, and was a finalist for the Asian American Literary Award and the Orange Award for New Writers. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Granta, Tin House, The Iowa Review, the Pushcart Prize anthology, and elsewhere.
Textbooks for this course:
There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.