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FICT 93 — Short Fiction Workshop: From Blueprint to Story

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 18—Mar 21
Time: 5:30—8:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jan 20
Units: 3
Tuition: $745
Instructor(s): Angela Pneuman
Limit: 24
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
5:30—8:20 pm (PT)
Jan 18—Mar 21
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 20
3 Units
Angela Pneuman
ACCESS THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Good short stories are carefully constructed, although they may appear perfectly natural and organic. Structure is as important to a story as architecture is to a building. When we explore how structure works, we can learn to make our stories more impactful and lasting.

In this course, we will begin studying structure by reading the stories of contemporary writers like Stuart Dybek, Julie Otsuka, Alice Munro, Carmen Maria Machado, and others, analyzing how each author chose to build their story, so we can borrow these techniques. We will learn about the dramatic arc made famous by Aristotle in his study of tragedy and the ways it can be applicable to the writing of short stories, and we will also explore less traditional structures that “shape” the story in unexpected ways, such as around an interview, a list, a rhetorical device, or even a single sentence. In addition to published short stories, we will read selected craft essays and author interviews provided by the instructor. In-class writing prompts will allow students to experiment and try out different fiction-writing approaches, including shaping techniques. By the end of the course, each student will have written and workshopped a complete story draft as well as acquired a practical understanding of story structure to support their next writing project.

While students are not required to purchase texts for this course, they may need to acquire a subscription to an online magazine depending on the number of free articles they have already accessed. More details will be provided in class.

Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford; MFA Instructor, Sarah Lawrence College; Executive Director, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference

Angela Pneuman is the author of the novel Lay It on My Heart and the short story collection Home Remedies. Her fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, Glimmer Train, The Virginia Quarterly Review, New England Review, and Ploughshares, and she is a contributor to Salon, The Believer, and The Rumpus. She received a PhD in English from SUNY Albany.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.