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FICT 54 W — Short Fiction Workshop: Build a Story from the Ground Up

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 26—Dec 8
Refund Deadline: Sep 29
Units: 3
Tuition: $1000
Instructor(s): Thomas McNeely
Limit: 19
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 20
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Sep 26—Dec 8
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 29
3 Units
Thomas McNeely
Please Note: No class the week of November 20
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
What is the artistic process from journal entry, notebook scribble, or anecdote to polished draft? In this course, we will explore not only elements of craft but also the artistic decisions a writer makes in shaping raw experience into fiction. Each week, students will submit 500 words of a story, revising and incorporating the previous week’s submission. At the end of the quarter, each student will have a polished draft of a story. Along the way, we will explore how to transform our experience into fiction by manipulating point of view, setting, and the “ticking clock” or narrative shape of the story. We will also look at identifying important objects, images, or props within the story; finding the right age for our main character; creating binaries or opposing forces within a story; upping tension and stakes to create the arc of the story; and other issues. Each revision will focus on a single artistic objective and will be accompanied by stories from masters who exemplify each objective.

Although the time commitment for an online writing course is dependent upon one’s degree of participation, students should plan on investing 4–6 hours per week in order to gain substantial benefit from the course.

Former Jones Lecturer and Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Thomas McNeely is the author of Pictures of the Shark: Stories and the novel Ghost Horse, winner of the Gival Press Novel Award. He has received a NEA fellowship in prose, and his stories have appeared in The Atlantic, Ploughshares, and other magazines and anthologies and have been shortlisted for The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Prize Stories, and the Pushcart Prize. McNeely received an MFA from Emerson College.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Bernays and Painter, see syllabus, What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers, Third Edition (ISBN 978-0205616886)