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Archaeology of Fiction

ENGL 412.640
Thursdays 5:30-8:10 pm

This writing workshop is an archeological dig for the layers of experience, thought, sensation, and fantasy buried in your own imagination that inspire the creation of your stories. In this seminar, you will have the opportunity to excavate stories you want to tell by using the tools of writing and dreaming, improvisation, visualization, and mindfulness. Every week, you’ll do writing exercises to spark new connections. You will also explore the elements of literary fiction that invite readers to step into the interior dreams that can be seen, tasted, felt, and experienced through the sense details that take us there. We will mine a deeper understanding of the art and craft of writing, including choices about structure, plot, character-development, dialogue, point of view, style and voice, by reading short stories by a wide range of authors, including Alice Munro, John Edgar Wideman, Annie Proulx, Charles Johnson, Jamaica Kincaid, Jumpa Lahiri, and Langston Hughes. From them, you can learn a great deal about your own work by paying attention to theirs and applying the lessons you learn. This will be a semester of sharing, listening, reading, thinking, watching your own mind and writing, writing, writing. The workshop will include in-class exercises; take-home exercises; daily free-writing, close-readings, an in-depth study of three works by one author; oral presentations; class participation, and critique workshops in which you will read your work aloud and receive feedback designed to help you approach revision as an art.