fullscreen background
Skip to main content

Winter Quarter

Winter Catalogues
Now Available
Registration Opens Nov 30
shopping cart icon0

Courses

« Back to Creative Writing

FICT 67 W — Writing Strange Magic: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Magical Realism

Quarter: Winter
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 9 weeks
Date(s): Jan 18—Mar 19
Drop Deadline: Jan 21
Units: 2
Tuition: $830
Instructor(s): Ben Hoffman
Limit: 20
Status: Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Winter
Flex Online(About Formats)
Date(s)
Jan 18—Mar 19
9 weeks
Drop By
Jan 21
2 Units
Fees
$830
Instructor(s):
Ben Hoffman
Limit
20
Registration opens Nov 30, 8:30 am (PT)
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Many readers and writers are drawn to fiction for its fantastical possibilities, though such elements have often been cast as contrary to a work’s literary quality. With that in mind, we will investigate how strangeness and magic function in contemporary literary fiction and proceed to write our own weird tales. We will discuss stories by such authors as Kelly Link, Aimee Bender, and Stephen Millhauser, examining how these authors incorporate “literary” qualities in work that is not typical realism. We will complete several short writing exercises, striving to integrate magical and strange elements while focusing on the basic building blocks of storytelling such as characters, setting, and conflict. We will contemplate how magical realism, surrealism, and the uncanny differ from sci-fi and fantasy genre writing, and ask how we, as writers, can make the quotidian seem extraordinary and the improbable seem inevitable, and to what end. Later we will workshop our own short stories or novel excerpts and discuss the revision process. Throughout the course, we will consider how the expectations of literary fiction might constrain us and how we can engage with and transcend these archetypes.

Ben Hoffman, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford; Lecturer in Creative Writing, University of Chicago

Ben Hoffman’s fiction has received the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award and has been published by Granta, The Southern Review, and Zoetrope. He has received a Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and a 2020 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation: A Novel (ISBN 978-0374104092)
DOWNLOAD THE PRELIMINARY SYLLABUS » (subject to change)