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FICT 43 W — Getting It Down: Crafting the Short Story

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Online course (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 3—Jun 9
Drop Deadline: Apr 11
Units: 3
Tuition: $850
Instructor(s): Lydia Fitzpatrick
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Apr 3—Jun 9
10 weeks
Drop By
Apr 11
3 Units
Lydia Fitzpatrick
Do your story ideas flee the moment you put pen to paper? Does your inspiration desert you at the sight of the blinking cursor? If so, this is the course for you.

This course is designed to help writers of all levels learn strategies for that most basic element of writing: getting words on the page. We will explore ways to move beyond the urgency of inspiration to crafting a complete and compelling short story. For the first few weeks, we will focus on making beginnings approachable and on forming a writing habit. Then we will look at how to use perspective, setting, character, and plot as lenses through which to see your ideas anew and as sources of momentum that can push you past page one. We will read an anthology—The Scribner Anthology of Short Fiction—as well as essays by writers like Anne Lamott and Joan Didion on their practices and processes. By the second half of the quarter, we will develop our ideas into short stories and workshop them with an eye toward whether the piece is achieving what the author intended and on ways to bring the next draft closer to that original inspiration.

Although the time commitment for an online writing course is dependent upon one’s degree of participation, students should plan on investing four to six hours per week in order to gain substantial benefit from the course.

Lydia Fitzpatrick, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Lydia Fitzpatrick’s work has appeared in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2016, The Best American Mystery Stories, One Story, Glimmer Train, and Mid-American Review. She has received the Carl Djerassi Fiction Fellowship at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and an Elizabeth George Foundation grant. Fitzpatrick has taught creative writing at the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is working on her first novel.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Lex Williford & Michael Martone, eds., The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, 2nd Edition (ISBN B00DWYUO48)
(Required) Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (ISBN 978-0385480017)