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FICT 128 — Short Story Writing: Working with Your Best Material

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 28—Dec 7
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 11
Unit(s): 3 Units
Tuition: $650
Limit: 21
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 23
On campus
6:30—9:20 pm
Sep 28—Dec 7
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 11
3 Units
Please Note: No class on November 23
Flannery O’Connor famously claimed that those who survive to the age of fifteen have enough material to write interesting stories for the rest of their lives. But learning how to identify this material—ideas, memories, events real and imagined, unforgettable characters, and much more—can be a complex process. And turning your ideas into compelling narrative involves learning to manipulate elements of fiction such as point of view, dialogue, setting, and plot. We will start by reading work from several writers, including O’Connor, Stuart Dybek, Tobias Wolff, Kelly Link, ZZ Packer, Mary Gaitskill, and George Saunders. We will look at how these writers manage the elements of fiction, and we will read selected essays and interviews to see what these and other writers have to say about where their stories come from and how their initial ideas turned into completed, self-contained pieces. Short (one- to two-page) writing assignments will help students discover their own subject matter and improve their skills in handling the elements of fiction. Writing assignments, class discussion, and instructor feedback will support students as they develop their full-length stories for workshop during the second part of the course.

Angela Pneuman, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

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, Iowa Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, and The Los Angeles Review. She is a contributor to Salon, The Believer, and The Rumpus. She received an MFA in writing from Indiana University and a PhD in English from the State University of New York at Albany.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Tom Perotta, The Best American Short Stories 2012 (ISBN 0547242107)
(Required) Ben Marcus, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories (ISBN 1400034825)
(Required) Stephen Koch, The Modern Library Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction (ISBN 0375755586)