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FICT 84 W — The Beginning, the End, and Everything in Between: Perfecting the Short Story

Quarter: Winter
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jan 9—Mar 17
Refund Deadline: Jan 12
Units: 3
Tuition: $955
Instructor(s): Evgeniya Dame
Limit: 17
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Jan 9—Mar 17
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jan 12
3 Units
Evgeniya Dame
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
A great short story has an opening that pulls the reader in and an ending that is, in the words of Aristotle, surprising yet inevitable. But how to choose the best opening out of many possible ones? How to land on an ending that feels right? And how to make it past the halfway point in a story without losing energy and focus? This course will arm writers with a strong understanding of structure so they can develop short stories from idea to finished form. We will review the traditional elements of plot, pausing to examine types of openings, discuss the relationship between what Ron Carlson calls the “inner” and the “outer” story, and search for endings that bring the elements together. We will read broadly for elements of plot in the work of such writers as Aleksandar Hemon, Anton Chekhov, Ottessa Moshfegh, and others.

In the first weeks of the course, you will engage in writing prompts shared with the group. In the subsequent weeks, you will generate a new short story for instructor and small-group feedback, building it one week at a time (up to 1,000 words per week). By the end of the course, students will gain a deeper understanding of a short story structure and how to vary it toward a desired effect.

Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Evgeniya Dame received an MFA from the University of New Hampshire where she was a Fulbright scholar. Her writing has appeared in Ploughshares, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Southern Review, Subtropics, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She is a fiction editor at Joyland.

Textbooks for this course:

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