First-Year Studies: Fiction Writing

This is a course from a previous year. View the current courses

In this yearlong fiction-writing workshop, students will acquaint themselves with such basic elements of fiction as point of view, character, plot and structure, dialogue and exposition, detail and scene, as well as other more sophisticated concepts related to the craft and imaginative process of fiction. Principles such as counterpoint characterization, defamiliariazation, and the sublime, among others, are explored through lessons, writing exercises, and assigned readings, as well as authors’ works that students wish to share with the class. We attend readings and craft talks by the guest writers in our reading series. We form small groups to study more closely various aspects of fiction and to help each other draft their stories. We move on in the second semester to explore dream narratives, quest stories and the hero’s journey, the structures of jokes, and the gifts of graphic fiction. We study a democratically chosen novel and film and bring the inspiration and edification of different arts processes into the mix. The core of the course is the students’ own development as fiction writers. We have a lot of fun trying numerous exercises and approaches to stories. We work closely in conference on the writing, and each student will present at least one final developed story for the workshop discussion. Students are responsible for critiquing each other’s stories in writing, as well as participating thoughtfully and actively in the workshop discussion.