Fiction Workshop


How do we, as writers, take our lived experiences and transform them into fiction? The novelist Janet Frame observed that “putting it all down as it happens is not fiction; there must be the journey by oneself, the changing of the light focused upon the material, the willingness of the author herself to live within that light…the real shape, the first shape, is always a circle formed, only to be broken and reformed, again and again.” Through exercises and longer writing assignments, we will begin the journey into this softly lit territory of subject matter. We will explore questions of craft: What makes a story a story? Does there always need to be transformation? How does structure help create voice? The workshop will be divided between the discussion of student stories and published authors such as Edward P. Jones, Alice Munro, George Saunders, Jamaica Kincaid, and E.L. Doctorow. Students will do additional conference reading and be required to attend at least two campus readings per semester. We will also work on developing our constructive criticism, which (when developed over time and in a supportive atmosphere) should help us better understand the workings of our own creative writing.