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FICT 81 W — Finding Fire: From Premise to Plot

Quarter: Winter
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Jan 23—Mar 17
Refund Deadline: Jan 26
Units: 2
Tuition: $790
Instructor(s): Jacinda Townsend
Limit: 17
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Closed
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Jan 23—Mar 17
8 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 26
2 Units
Jacinda Townsend
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Some plots seal themselves indelibly into our memories: they shock us as much as they thrill us and dramatically satisfy us at the same time as they park us on a cliff of yearning about the human condition. But if plot is the fire, premise is the kerosene, and in this course we will organically grow our narrative arcs from premise to plot. We'll start from the bottom, through character development, examining the ways in which daily character sketching can aid us in creating more dynamic protagonists and villains. We'll quickly move on to building internal conflict that is as hot as our external conflict, with the end goal of scaffolding a plot outline that works efficiently and creates emotional resonance. We'll discuss short story and novel openings from writers such as Anthony Doerr, Louise Erdrich, Jill McCorkle, and Toni Morrison, and we'll complete weekly exercises that will help us work our way through premise toward plot. By the end of the course, each student will have received peer and instructor feedback on either a short story or novel chapter of up to 3,000 words. Students will finish the class with a fiery premise and the opening and plot outline for a short story or novel.

Visiting Professor, University of Michigan

Jacinda Townsend is the author of Mother Country and Saint Monkey, which received the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize and the James Fenimore Cooper Prize. A former lawyer and broadcast journalist, Townsend is an Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate and has taught in MFA programs across the country.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Junot Diaz & Heidi Pitlor , Best American Short Stories (2016) (ISBN 978-0544582897)