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FICT 56 W — Fiction Writing: Inhabiting Character

Quarter: Winter
Course Format: Online course (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 16—Mar 23
Drop Deadline: Jan 19
Units: 3
Tuition: $880
Instructor(s): Rachel Smith
Limit: 17
Status: Registration opens on 12/04/2017
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 1/19 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 1/24 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Winter
Date(s)
Jan 16—Mar 23
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 19
3 Units
Fees
$880
Instructor(s):
Rachel Smith
Limit
17
Registration opens on 12/04/2017
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 1/19 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 1/24 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Characters in novels and stories can affect us profoundly. We become invested in their falling and rising fortunes. We may think about them long after we’ve set a book down. We can be captivated by the way they approach the world, their simple or astonishing actions, and the language they give rise to on the page. So how do we, with mere sentences, craft the illusion of vivid life? Through reading stories, novel excerpts, and craft essays—and by doing a good deal of writing—this course demystifies the process. We will study the work of writers such as Denis Johnson, NoViolet Bulawayo, Sherman Alexie, and Elizabeth Strout. We will consider critical perspectives on character from E.M. Forster, William Gass, James Wood, and others. We will complete a variety of writing exercises designed to build authentic, original characters with hopes, desires, dreams, and regrets. Those characters will be the basis for the eight- to eighteen-page work of fiction (a novel excerpt or story) that students will write in the second half of the course and have workshopped by peers and the instructor. This course is suitable for fiction writers of any level, from beginning writers looking for help getting started to experienced writers wanting to hone the authenticity, depth, and vividness of their characters.

Rachel Smith, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford; Former William Chace Lecturer in Continuing Studies

Rachel Smith’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Seattle Times, The Rumpus, Brevity, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She has taught at Stanford and at the University of Mississippi, where she received an MFA in creative writing.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) James Wood, How Fiction Works (ISBN 978-0312428471)
(Required) Elizabeth Strout, Anything is Possible (ISBN 978-0812989403)
(Required) Robert Boswell, The Half-Known World: On Writing Fiction (ISBN 978-1555975043)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)