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FICT 68 W — Write a Riveting, Stylish, Singular Short Story

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 20—Dec 3
Refund Deadline: Sep 23
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Matt Sumell
Limit: 17
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class the week of November 22
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Sep 20—Dec 3
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 23
3 Units
Matt Sumell
Please Note: No class the week of November 22
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Writing a good short story involves a steady hand with suspense, close attention to language, a near-obsessive grasp of detail, and an underlying yet palpable sense of direction. All characters want things—love, sex, money, Cheez-Its—and a particular character’s search for that thing, those things, forms the basis of plot. During this short-fiction course, we will discuss how it is that particular stories, both our own and published works, either fulfill or evade standard conventions of plot. We will also practice a process useful to fiction composition: reading, analyzing, and mining others' writing for new insights that we can apply to our work. Think of the course as a laboratory designed to encourage your own creative production. Students will write one story of approximately five to ten pages and another of a “fuller” length that we will workshop as a class. Along the way, we will study works by Aimee Bender, Jhumpa Lahiri, Junot Díaz, George Saunders, and others. By the end, you will know how to tell a story in a riveting, stylish, singular manner.


Matt Sumell’s short fiction has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, Freeman’s, NOON, Electric Literature, One Story, Zyzzyva, and elsewhere. His first novel, Making Nice, has been translated into five languages and optioned for a television comedy series. He received an MFA from UC Irvine.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Joyce Carol Oates (Editor), Christopher R. Beha , The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction (ISBN 0061661589)