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FICT 37 — The Art of Short Fiction: Characters in Conflict

Quarter: Winter
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 12—Mar 16
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Jan 14
Units: 3
Tuition: $675
Instructor(s): Angela Pneuman
Limit: 22
Status: Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Winter
Live Online(About Formats)
Tuesdays
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Date(s)
Jan 12—Mar 16
10 weeks
Drop By
Jan 14
3 Units
Fees
$675
Instructor(s):
Angela Pneuman
Limit
22
Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Placing characters in conflict is at the heart of all good fiction writing. Problems, decisions, conundrums, discomfort—all of these conflicts and others move characters to the decisions and actions that get stories started. And a writer’s best material comes from the kinds of conflicts that interest them most. This course helps you work with your own ideas, memories, events real and imagined, and much more to begin placing your characters in conflict. You will develop the story by managing elements of fiction like point of view, dialogue, setting, and plot, each of which we will explore through exercises. We will read published short stories from Tobias Wolff, Edward P. Jones, Mary Gaitskill, Julie Otsuka, and others, with an eye to how these writers’ stories work. We will also read selected essays and interviews to find out what they have to say about where authors’ stories come from. In-class and homework writing assignments, class discussion, and instructor feedback are all designed to help you develop a full-length story for workshop that includes peer and instructor feedback. This is a repeatable course for anyone who loves short stories and is passionate—or curious—about writing them.

This course is suitable for beginning and intermediate writers interested in short stories.

Angela Pneuman, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford; 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 an MFA from Indiana University and a PhD in English from SUNY Albany.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Stephen Koch, The Modern Library Writer's Workshop: A Guide to the Craft of Fiction (ISBN 978-0375755583)
(Required) Heidi Pitlor, ed., Tom Perotta, ed., Best American Short Stories 2012 (ISBN 978-0547242101)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)