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FICT 33 — Fiction Writing Workshop: Developing Plot and Character

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 3—Jun 5
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 16
Units: 3
Tuition: $665
Instructor(s): Chris Drangle
Limit: 21
6:30—9:20 pm
Apr 3—Jun 5
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 16
3 Units
Chris Drangle
Leigh Brackett, whose output ranged from hard-boiled mystery novels to screenplays for Rio Bravo and The Empire Strikes Back, once said, “Plot is people.” Simple enough, but how can the beginning writer apply this adage to the actual drafting process? In this course, we will pay particular attention to the relationship between plot and character, two fundamental elements of fiction that are sometimes seen as separate but are in fact deeply intertwined. We will look at how twists and turns derived from characters can reveal and deepen those characters, and then we will use these lessons to plot gripping, emotionally resonant fiction of our own. The workshop component of the course will include class time spent on group discussion of student work, idea generation, and outlining exercises. For models and wisdom, we will turn to writers like Jennifer Egan, Stephen King, Patricia Highsmith, and George Saunders. By the end of the course we will have cultivated an appreciation for the interconnectedness of plot and character—and developed the tools to take advantage of it.

Chris Drangle, Jones Lecturer and Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Chris Drangle has taught English and creative writing at Cornell, where he was an assistant editor at EPOCH magazine. His fiction has received the Pushcart Prize and appeared in Granta, the Oxford American, and the Kenyon Review. He received an MFA from Cornell.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) ed. Laura Furman, The O. Henry Prize Stories 2018 (ISBN 9780525436594)
(Required) Stephen King, On Writing (ISBN 9781439156810)