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FICT 62 — Writing Dynamic Short Stories

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 25—Dec 4
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 8
Units: 3
Tuition: $665
Instructor(s): Ron Nyren
Limit: 21
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 20
Fall
On-campus
Tuesdays
6:30—9:20 pm
Date(s)
Sep 25—Dec 4
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 8
3 Units
Fees
$665
Instructor(s):
Ron Nyren
Limit
21
Closed
Please Note: No class on November 20
Short-story writer Alice Munro said, “I want to tell a story, in the old-fashioned way—what happens to somebody—but I want that ‘what happens’ to be delivered with quite a bit of interruption, turnarounds, and strangeness. I want the reader to feel something is astonishing—not the ‘what happens’ but the way everything happens.” In this course, we will discuss strategies for writing short stories that compel readers and transform “what happens” into something electric. We will explore how plot can pressure characters to reveal who they really are and how interruptions, obstacles, and reversals can raise the stakes. In-class and (optional) take-home writing exercises will help with creating active, complex characters; choosing the most intriguing point of view for the story; and rendering vivid scenes for readers to inhabit. For guidance, we will study the strategies of such short story writers as Jhumpa Lahiri, Alice Munro, ZZ Packer, and George Saunders, among others. Each student will have a chance to get feedback from everyone on a story or selection of up to 5,000 words, opening up a sense of the work’s possibilities for transformation. Students will come away with a toolbox of craft strategies for developing and energizing their stories.

Ron Nyren, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Ron Nyren’s fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, North American Review, Glimmer Train, Mississippi Review, and elsewhere. He is the co-author, with Sarah Stone, of Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers and a former editor of Furious Fictions: The Magazine of Short-Short Stories. Nyren received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Lorrie Moore, 100 Years of The Best American Short Stories, 1st edition (ISBN 978-0547485850)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)