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FICT 57 W — Fiction Writing: Making Fiction Out of Experience

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 26—Dec 9
Drop Deadline: Oct 4
Unit(s): 3 Units
Tuition: $850
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of Thanksgiving
Sep 26—Dec 9
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 4
3 Units
Please Note: No class the week of Thanksgiving
Write what you know: The adage is undoubtedly familiar. For as long as writers have been writing what they know, teachers have been telling students to do the same. By writing what we know, we hope to give our fiction the complexity and richness of real-life experience. But turning literal fact into narrative truth isn’t just a question of proper recording. We have to use our powers of evocation and perception to give our experience the coherence of art.

In this course, we will explore fiction that takes the made-up and the real and makes them fit together. Each student will draft and share a new piece of fiction, a short story, or novel excerpt. Each week, we will read works that draw from the writers’ real-life experience, from such authors as James Joyce, James Agee, Flannery O’Connor, James Baldwin, and Elizabeth Tallent. Writing exercises will develop our sense of craft and process. In the final part of the course, students will submit a story or chapter for workshop in which they will give and receive feedback in an environment supportive of risk-taking. By the end of the course, students should expect to sharpen their vision, expand their knowledge of craft, and increase their capabilities to make stories from the stuff of life.

Although the time commitment for this course is dependent upon one’s degree of participation, students should plan on investing four to six hours per week in order to participate at a substantial level.

Brenden Willey, Former Nancy Packer Lecturer in Continuing Studies; Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Brenden Willey’s short stories have appeared in Narrative and The Antioch Review. He has received fellowships and grants from Oregon Literary Arts and the Elizabeth George Foundation. He received an MFA from the University of Oregon, where he was the Margaret McBride Lehrman Fellow and received the Richard and Juliette Logsdon Prize.

Textbooks for this course:

No required textbooks