ENG 225-01 Writing Fiction: Introductory Brandon Rauch
Office: 134 McIver Building, 8-5 M-F, and by appt.
Course Description and Goals: You will read published fiction, study its elements, complete a number of 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, and setting, 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.
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, 6th edition, Ann Charters
Supplies: You will need to bring two reams of copy paper (20lb, 8.5 x 11) to the Writing Program Office (134 McIver) by Thursday, January 30. Please write your name and the course number on the wrapper to insure that your account is credited.
— 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, Thursday, May 1.
— 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 must be a minimum of one full paragraph (the better part of one hand-written page).
Stories must be typed, double-spaced, 12 pt. font, on letter-sized paper, legibly printed, with pages numbered. They 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 skill as a writer of fiction. 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, organization, 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.
Conferences: You will be required to meet with me in conference at least once this semester, but I’m also happy to meet with you 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.
14 Jan, T – Intro, Lies
16 Jan, Th – The Writing Process, “Why I Write Short Stories” p1472 and “Happy Endings” “Everything That Rises Must Converge” p1117 plus “A Rhetorical Reading . . .” p1685
21 Jan, T – “The Conversion of the Jews” p1229 and “On Writing” p1605
23 Jan, Th – “Boys” p1032, “Girl” p839 and “Form, Not Plot, in the Short Story” p1453
28 Jan, T – “Hills Like White Elephants” p647 and “Hands” p64
30 Jan, Th – “The Things They Carried” p1102 and “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” p1089
4 Feb, T – “Menagerie” p754 and “Sonny’s Blues” p84
6 Feb, Th – “Battle Royal” p464
11 Feb, T – GR Stories (stories handed out), “Creative Writing 101” p1611
13 Feb, Th – GR stories
18 Feb, T – Read Stories Scheduled for Workshop
20 Feb, Th – and
25 Feb, T – and
27 Feb, Th – and
4 Mar, T – and
6 Mar, Th – and
11 Mar, T SPRING
13 Mar, Th BREAK
18 Mar, T– and
20 Mar, Th – and
25 Mar, T – and
27 Mar, Th – and
1 Apr, T – and
3 Apr, Th – and
8 Apr, T – and
10 Apr, Th – and
15 Apr, T – and
17 Apr, Th – and
Apr, F – Spring
22 Apr, T – and
24 Apr, Th – and
29 Apr, T – and
1 May, Th – and
6 May, T – Last Day of Classes, Follows Friday Schedule