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NVL 38 W — Fiction Writing: Your Authentic, One-of-a-Kind Voice

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 3—Jun 9
Refund Deadline: Apr 6
Units: 3
Tuition: $955
Instructor(s): Sarah Stone
Limit: 20
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Apr 3—Jun 9
10 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 6
3 Units
Sarah Stone
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Bharati Mukherjee wrote that “‘voice’ is our shorthand for the process of decision-making regarding tone, diction, pacing, texture, withholding, etc. in a given work.” Each writer, and each story or novel, has a particular voice—or sometimes a chorus of voices—that takes a reader deeply into characters’ lives and worlds: setting the tone, revealing the point of view, establishing a guiding presence, and determining meaning. Our decisions about dialogue weave the voice of the novel with the voices of the characters, along with their actions, gestures, and ideas. Together, we will read and discuss a novel by Ruth Ozeki, along with novel selections and short stories from Mukherjee, Toni Morrison, George Saunders, Zadie Smith, Italo Calvino, Grace Paley, Justin Torres, Helen Oyeyemi, Alice Munro, and others. You will post up to four writing exercises or selections from your fiction (500-1250 words each) for short, substantive, supportive feedback from your peer group and instructor. In our six live (optional) Zoom sessions, we’ll continue our craft discussions and writing exercises. You will also have the option of a one-on-one meeting with the instructor. By the end of the course, you will have a deeper sense of how your point of view and style decisions can transform your fiction and help bring your writer’s voice more vividly, distinctly alive.


Sarah Stone is the author of Hungry Ghost Theater, a finalist for the 38th annual Northern California Book Awards, and The True Sources of the Nile. She is co-author, with Ron Nyren, of Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers. Her work has appeared in Image, Ploughshares, StoryQuarterly, The Millions, Scoundrel Time, The Believer, A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft, and elsewhere. She received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (ISBN 978-0143124870)