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CW 89 W — Story Time: The Key to Creative Writing

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 26—Sep 1
Refund Deadline: Jun 29
Units: 3
Tuition: $955
Instructor(s): Julia Pierpont
Limit: 17
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Jun 26—Sep 1
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jun 29
3 Units
Julia Pierpont
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Eudora Welty wrote, “Time is the bringer-on of action, the instrument of change.” No story can occur without the passing of time, as every narrative covers some span of it. Creative writing can move from past to present and back again, even weaving them together. But to make these movements clear, every writer must learn how to artfully track and manipulate time.

As a writer, you must determine how much time to cover, at what pace, and when to start, flash back, or jump ahead. To study a variety of strategies, we will look at examples from books taking diverse, often unconventional approaches to time's passage. We will see it begin at the end (Who Will Run the Frog Hospital? by Lorrie Moore), span decades (Mariana by Monica Dickens), and slowly inch forward (The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker). In other instances, we will watch time accelerate at a breathless pace (To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf) and move in reverse (Time’s Arrow by Martin Amis).

Through discussion and exercises, we will learn about the effect of these varied choices on the reader, applying what we’ve learned in order to workshop student submissions of up to 5,000 words, whether they are short stories, novel excerpts, a memoir, or creative nonfiction—all genres are welcome.


Julia Pierpont is the author of the bestselling novel Among the Ten Thousand Things, which received the Prix Fitzgerald in France. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, and Guernica. She received an MFA from NYU.

Textbooks for this course:

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