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FICT 59 W — Getting Closer: The Art of Intimacy in the Short Story

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 25—Aug 31
Drop Deadline: Jun 28
Units: 3
Tuition: $880
Instructor(s): Rachel Smith
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 6/28 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 7/3 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Summer
Date(s)
Jun 25—Aug 31
10 weeks
Drop By
Jun 28
3 Units
Fees
$880
Instructor(s):
Rachel Smith
Limit
17
Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 6/28 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 7/3 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Literature is the most intimate of the arts: It brings readers into contact with the depths of another heart, soul, and mind. The short story—that feat of mystical compression—can succeed or fail on the strength of its close encounters and interior moments. From the unexpected charge of pleasure a boy experiences putting in eye drops for his family’s “houseboy” in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Apollo,” to the small, mounting indignities confronting a black female academic in Caille Millner’s “The Politics of the Quotidian,” each week we will dissect a story, focusing on one particular scene. In the first weeks of the course, you will invent an intimate situation in which to place your protagonist—as obvious as sex or as subtle as being in possession of a secret—and from there, you will craft a seven- to ten-page story, applying the lessons of our scene analysis to your own fiction. We will pay special attention to how the published stories use “intimacy” in all its forms to propel story, plot, and action, and to give the work a sense of heft or power. You will have the opportunity to workshop your draft with the full class, and you will leave the course with the skills to craft more authentic, meaningful scenes that get to the heart of your 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 the University of Mississippi, where she received an MFA in creative writing.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) eds. Junot Diaz and Heidi Pitlor, The Best American Short Stories 2016 (ISBN 0544582896)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)