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EGL 20 W — Sentence by Sentence: Creating Your Style

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 21—Dec 4
Drop Deadline: Sep 24
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Thomas McNeely
Limit: 24
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 23. In addition, some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Fall
Flex Online(About Formats)
Date(s)
Sep 21—Dec 4
10 weeks
Drop By
Sep 24
3 Units
Fees
$910
Instructor(s):
Thomas McNeely
Limit
24
Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 23. In addition, some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
No iron spike can pierce a human heart as icily as a period in the right place. —Isaac Babel

In fiction and nonfiction narrative, what grabs readers’ and editors’ attention is style. In this course, we will develop our unique prose styles, with the aim of drawing readers deeply into our stories. We will write a variety of short exercises to experiment with language as sound, the use of rhetorical tropes, modes of narration (descriptive, internal, summary, and scene), and use of genres. Students will select authors to imitate in short exercises, to internalize the lessons that we learn from these authors’ stylistic choices. We will write and workshop short scenes to develop our unique prose styles, employing lessons about craft to create specific dramatic effects. We will learn from the work of masters like James Joyce, John Barth, Flannery O’Connor, Raymond Carver, and Gertrude Stein, and read about developing our styles in essays by Raymond Queneau, Francine Prose, John Gardner, and others, all with special attention to tone and point of view. Additionally, students may choose an author to study, imitate, and discuss throughout the course.

Thomas McNeely, Former Jones Lecturer and Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Thomas McNeely is the author of the novel Ghost Horse. His stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Ploughshares, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and other magazines and anthologies. His work has been shortlisted for The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, and the Pushcart Prize. In 2008, he received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Prose. McNeely received an MFA from Emerson College.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) John Gardner, The Art of Fiction (ISBN 978-0679734031)
(Required) Francine Prose, Reading Like A Writer (ISBN 978-0060777050)
(Required) Raymond Queneau, Exercises in Style (ISBN 978-1847492418)
(Required) Ron Hansen and Jim Shepard, You've Got to Read This (ISBN 978-0060982027)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)