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EGL 72 W — Transporting the Reader: The Art of Description

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 24—Dec 7
Drop Deadline: Sep 27
Units: 3
Tuition: $895
Instructor(s): Lewis Robinson
Limit: 17
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 19. Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 9/27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 10/2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Fall
Date(s)
Sep 24—Dec 7
10 weeks
Drop By
Sep 27
3 Units
Fees
$895
Instructor(s):
Lewis Robinson
Limit
17
Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 19. Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 9/27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 10/2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
On your couch at home, you open a book and are immediately transported to base camp on Mount Everest. The sights, sounds, and smells are shockingly recognizable. Have you been here before? How did this happen? Sensory details hurtle us into a story, and alert us to the physical and emotional experience of the characters. Even in small doses, description reveals why a story is being told and what is most relevant to those involved. Being mindful of plot, characterization, and point of view, we will practice finding the right balance of details, so a setting can become more than just a static backdrop, and objects can feel like more than just props. Attending to the precision and authenticity of details helps to make a short story, memoir, or novel all the more emotionally engrossing. In the first five weeks of class—by way of reading and writing exercises—we will generate new work and share our progress. In weeks six through ten, students will submit and workshop longer excerpts. We will discuss short stories, essays, and notes on craft by a variety of contemporary masters.

This course is suitable for both fiction and nonfiction writers, and all experience levels are welcome. This is the first course of the four-quar ter sequence, “The Craft of Creative Writing: The Telling Tools.” The four courses focus on Description (Fall 2018), Character (Winter 2019), Point of View (Spring 2019), and Scene (Summer 2019). These courses are less workshop-oriented than most of our Creative Writing courses, instead devoting each quarter to an intensive and wide-ranging practicum in a key question of craft. While these courses build upon one another, each course can be taken independently as well.

Lewis Robinson, Author

Lewis Robinson is the author of the novel Water Dogs, a New York Times Editor’s Choice, and the story collection Officer Friendly, which received the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award and a Whiting Award. His short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Sports Illustrated, The Missouri Review, and on NPR’s Selected Shorts. He is host of the podcast Talk Shop. He received an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and has taught at Colby College and the University of Iowa, and in the MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Lex Williford and Michael Martone, Touchstone Anthology of Contemporary Creative Nonfiction (ISBN 978-1416531746)
(Required) Josip Novakovich, Fiction Writer's Workshop (ISBN 978-1582975368)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)