FICT 59 W — Short Story Workshop: The Art of Intimacy
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 1—Jun 7
Refund Deadline: Apr 4
Instructor(s): Rachel Smith
Class Recording Available: Yes
Literature is the most intimate of the arts: it brings readers into contact with the depths of another's 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. Each week, we will dissect a story, focusing on one particular scene, 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 female academic of color in Caille Millner’s “The Politics of the Quotidian.” 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-10-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 deeply authentic, meaningful scenes that get to the heart of your characters.
Rachel Smith’s writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Seattle Times, The Rumpus, Brevity, and elsewhere. She has received residencies and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Marquette Residency, and the Elizabeth George Foundation and has taught creative writing at Stanford, the University of San Francisco, and the University of Mississippi, where she received an MFA in creative writing.
Former William Chace Lecturer; Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford
Textbooks for this course:
There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.