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FICT 86 — The Craft of Short Story Writing: Awakening the Imagination

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Apr 5—Jun 7
Time: 5:00—7:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 7
Units: 3
Tuition: $710
Instructor(s): Valerie Miner
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
5:00—7:50 pm (PT)
Apr 5—Jun 7
10 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 7
3 Units
Valerie Miner
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Our imagination flies—we are its shadow on the earth. —Vladimir Nabokov

The short story is the perfect space in which to give the imagination room to roam. By pairing imagination with an understanding of the craft of short story writing, we can create compelling and evocative tales that resonate with readers. Learning how to craft short fiction does not have to come at the expense of poetic language. Artistic prose is just as musical as poetry, and in this course, we will be listening to the rhythm of one word breathing against another, even as we study characterization, point of view, plot, dialogue, and setting. For inspiration, we will read stories by such writers as Aimee Phan, Jamaica Kincaid, Bret Lott, and Julia Alvarez, analyzing and discussing the literary techniques in these stories and putting them to use in weekly exercises in the first half of the course. Then, each student will create a short story of their own, between eight and 12 pages, to share with the class in supportive workshops designed to foster thoughtful, constructive feedback. Throughout this course, we will awaken our imaginations and find our unique voices as writers while developing craft skills to carry those voices into a larger world.

Author; Former Artist in Residence, Stanford; Professor Emerita, English Department, University of Minnesota

Valerie Miner was an artist in residence at Stanford’s Clayman Institute for 17 years. Earlier, she taught at the University of Minnesota, where she received a Distinguished Teaching Award. The author of 16 books, she has published in Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, TriQuarterly, Salmagundi, New Letters, and on BBC Radio 4. Her work is collected in over 60 anthologies, and she received Fulbright Fellowships to India, Indonesia, and Tunisia. Miner travels internationally, giving readings, lectures, and workshops.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Aimee Phan, We Should Never Meet (ISBN 978-0312322670)
(Required) Randal Kenan, Let The Dead Bury Their Dead (ISBN 978-0156505154)