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FICT 70 — Writing Electric Short Stories

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 22—Aug 24
Time: 6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jun 24
Units: 3
Tuition: $675
Instructor(s): Ron Nyren
Limit: 21
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
6:30—9:20 pm (PT)
Jun 22—Aug 24
10 weeks
Refund Date
Jun 24
3 Units
Ron Nyren
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
About her fiction, 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. 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 Lauren Groff, Edward P. Jones, Jhumpa Lahiri, Alice Munro, Julie Otsuka, and Grace Paley, among others. Each student will have the opportunity to receive feedback from everyone on a story or novel excerpt, 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.

Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Ron Nyren’s novel The Book of Lost Light received Black Lawrence Press’s Big Moose Prize and was a 2020 Langum Prize finalist. His fiction has appeared in The Paris Review, The Missouri Review, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. He is a co-author, with Sarah Stone, of Deepening Fiction: A Practical Guide for Intermediate and Advanced Writers. He received an MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Lorrie Moore, editor, 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories, 1st Edition (ISBN 978-0547485850)