Brief Description of Course: An introduction to the craft of writing short stories, with an emphasis on learning from the study of published fiction. Focusing on stories by contemporary writers, we’ll take an evaluative and analytical approach, drawing on narratology and literary criticism to discuss how short stories work and achieve their effects. Topics will include perspective, character, voice, rhythm, dialogue, setting, and plot. The assignments will involve students writing short fiction while engaging with genres, techniques, and strategies addressed in class.
Required Reading: Lex Williford and Michael Martone, eds., The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Short Fiction, 2nd ed (2007); a course reader featuring short fiction by authors such as Donald Barthelme, Angela Carter, Lorna Crozier, Michael Crummey, Don DeLillo, Veronica Geng, Kazuo Ishiguro, Lorrie Moore, Alice Munro, Tim O’Brien, Annie Proulx, Lore Segal, and Charles Yu, as well as criticism by J. M. Coetzee, Lenore Keeshig-Tobias, and Gary Lutz.
First Three Authors/Texts: (subject to change) Michael Crummey, “Bread”; A. M. Homes, “A Real Doll”; Denis Johnson, “Car Crash While Hitchhiking.”
Method of Instruction: seminar
Method of Evaluation: class participation (15%), online participation (5%), class presentation (5%), three short stories (20%), quiz (10%), in-class test (20%), final portfolio (25%).