Classroom: Graham 303
Office: 134 McIver Building, 8-5 M-F, and by appt.
Course Description and Goals: You will read published fiction, study its elements,
complete written exercises, write stories, and read critically the writing
of your workshop fellows. Upon successful completion of this course, you should
be familiar with such basic elements of crafting fiction as structure, plot,
characterization, point-of-view, voice, setting, and style and be able to analyze
fiction from a writer’s perspective.
English 225 is a beginning course in the writing of fiction. The level of the workshop will accom-modate both new and experienced writers, as all writers benefit from exercises and reviewing craft. It is assumed that you have taken a literature course that involved the study of the short story. If you have not, let me know.
Learning Goals Adopted by the Creative Writing Program
1. To develop artistic abilities by focusing intensively, under faculty guidance, on fiction
2. To learn sophisticated models of revision; sharpen reading, editorial and analytical skills; and cultivate the ability to articulate matters of craft and literary theory.
3. To become familiar with formal possibilities for writing and explore the historical development of narrative through a close study of the structure of fiction.
4. To develop a broader knowledge base of contemporary works and the literary canon.
5. To enhance professional development with the support of a community of faculty, fellow students, and distinguished visiting writers.
Text: The Story and Its Writer, An Introduction to Short Fiction, compact 6th edition, Ann Charters
Supplies: You need to plan on photocopying your work—roughly 20 copies of each story you submit to for workshop. This process might be cheaper at a copy shop if you bring your own paper.
Reading: We’ll spend the first part of the semester reading stories and essays, and I’ll continue to assign readings as we make our way through the semester.
— Writing exercises will be assigned during the first part of the semester, some of these will be completed in class.
— 2 original short stories (or more if the stories are very short, for a minimum total of twenty pages) will be due on the dates you will sign up for.
— A revision of one of these stories will be due on our last day of class.
— You must write a critique of each story that comes up for discussion in the workshop. Make one copy for the writer and one copy for me. These should be the better part of one hand-written page.
Stories must be typed, double-spaced, 12 pt. font, on letter-sized paper,
legibly printed in black ink, with pages numbered. All work must be proofread
for mechanical errors—sloppy text and excessive errors will count against
your grade. Your critiques do not have to be as polished as your stories, but
must be legible. Guidelines for the substance and tone of critiques will be
provided. You must attend the classes in which your work is to be critiqued,
and in the case of an unavoidable absence, you should contact me as far in
advance as possible.
Grades: Given that this is an introductory workshop it does not seem entirely fair to me to grade you on your level of skill as a writer. Therefore, the other components of this course become all the more important. Your grade will be based on your timeliness, attendance (2 absences before your grade is lowered), participation, earnestness, the thoroughness of your critiques and revisions, and citizenship. I realize that it can be frustrating to work the majority of the semester without receiving grades (other than on the occasional quiz), so I encourage you to come and speak with me if you are concerned about your performance in this class.
Conferences: You will be required to meet with me at least once this semester, but I’m also happy to meet whenever you like. I ask only that you schedule a time one day or so in advance for longer conferences. If you have a quick question or small concern you’d like discuss, feel free to drop by my office (134 McIver, 8-5, M-F) any time.
Visiting Writers: I will require that you attend at least one reading during the semester, and will provide you with a schedule of dates and times.
17 Aug, T – Intro, Lies
19 Aug, Th – Lies cont., Writing Process, “Why I Write Short Stories” p859, “Writing
Stories” p910, “How to Become to a Writer” p1036, “Happy Endings” p21
24 Aug, T – “The Bath” p76, “A Small Good Thing” p81, “On Writing” p941, “Creative Writing 101”
26 Aug, Th – “A Rose for Emily” p269, “The Swimmer” p129
31 Aug, T – “The Things They Carried” p632, “Girl” p469, “Boys” p579
2 Sep, Th – “Menagerie: A Child’s Fable” (handout), “A Very Old Man.with Enormous Wings” p300
7 Sep, T – “Everything That Rises Must Converge” p647, “Hills Like White Elephants” p340
9 Sep, Th – “Battle Royal” p249, First workshop participants hand in stories
14 Sep, T – Critique stories from The Greensboro Review
16 Sep, Th – and
21 Sep, T – and
23 Sep, Th –
28 Sep, T – and
30 Sep, Th –
5 Oct, T – and
7 Oct, Th –
12 Oct, T Fall Break
14 Oct, Th and
19 Oct, T– and
21 Oct, Th –
26 Oct, T – and
28 Oct, Th –
2 Nov, T – and
4 Nov, Th –
9 Nov, T – and
11 Nov, Th –
16 Nov, T – and
18 Nov, Th –
23 Nov, T – and
25 Nov, Th – Thanksgiving
30 Nov, T – and
2 Dec, Th – Last day of class
9 Dec, Th – Exam period 12 noon – 3pm