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Reading & Writing the Short Story

ENGL 415.601
instructor(s):
W 6:30-9:30

This course will be a workshop in which students write short stories and read the work of their classmates, as well as that of published authors. Special emphasis will be given to understanding narrative strategies, critically responding to others' work, and the revision of one's own stories.

Students will write two longer stories (6-16 pages), 1-2 shorter piece(s), and complete one substantial revision. Stories will be discussed in the class, and in one-on-one conferences with the instructor; such discussions will aim to provide a useful critical appraisal for the author. Criticism will be aimed not only at bringing individual stories to fruition, but also at encouraging and informing further efforts.

In addition to the required stories, students will be responsible for providing written responses to the work of their peers. Such responses should benefit the respondents (as well as the writers of the stories), as they force an articulation of narrative questions; in this way, responding to others' work often provides insight into our own. These responses will also provide a more informed discussion in class.

The published stories read for this course will illustrate basic narrative decisions (e.g. first vs. third person narration) as well as some techniques and strategies (e.g. temporal manipulations, questions of closure) used to enhance narrative development and ease complications. The instructor will lead short discussions of these stories, with special attention to how other writers may learn from them.

Undergraduate students interested in the course should submit a writing sample to Peter Rock, Department of English 119 Bennett Hall/6273. Also include your name, SS#, undergraduate class, and telephone number where you can be reached. Permit is required by the instructor.