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FICT 57 W — Short Story Writing: Making Fiction Out of Experience

Quarter: Spring
Date(s): Mar 28—Jun 3
Duration: 10 weeks
Drop By
Drop Deadline: Mar 31
Unit(s): 3 Units
Tuition: $805
Format: Online course (System Requirements)
Limit: Limit 17
Status: Closed
Write what you know: The adage is undoubtedly familiar. For as long as writers have been writing what they know, teachers have been telling students to do the same. By writing what we know, we hope to give our fiction the complexity and richness of real-life experience. But turning literal fact into narrative truth isn’t just a question of proper recording. We have to use our powers of evocation and perception to give our experience the coherence of art.

In this short story course, we will explore fiction that takes the made up and the real and makes them fit together. Each student will draft and share a new piece of fiction. Each week, we will read short stories that draw from the writers’ real-life experience, from such authors as James Joyce, James Agee, Flannery O’Connor, James Baldwin, and Elizabeth Tallent. Writing exercises will develop our sense of craft and process. In the final part of the term, students will submit a story for workshop, where they will give and receive feedback in an environment supportive of risk-taking. By the end of the course, students should expect to sharpen their vision, expand their knowledge of craft, and increase their capabilities to make stories from the stuff of life.

This is an online course. For more information about the Online Writing Program, visit our FAQs.

Brenden Willey, Nancy Packer Lecturer in Continuing Studies; Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Brenden Willey work has appeared in Narrative and The Antioch Review. He has received fellowships and grants from Oregon Literary Arts and the Elizabeth George Foundation. He received an MFA from the University of Oregon, where he was the Margaret McBride Lehrman Fellow and received the Richard and Juliette Logsdon Prize.

Textbooks for this course:

(Recommended) Stephen Koch, The Modern Library Writer's Workshop (ISBN 978-0375755583)