Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Advanced Fiction Writing

ENGL 115.301
R 1:30-4:30

This is a course for students interested in writing fiction--literary or genre or somewhere in between--but always seriously and always with a mind to perfecting the work at hand. To that end, we will also read short fiction taken from an anthology. The readings will serve mainly as frames of reference. We will discuss them primarily as writers. What works to pull us through the story? Is the story/plot/motion line strong or weak or inconsequential? What "power" as reading motivators do the characters have? What can we say about the narrative technique? Setting? Language?

We will ask the same questions of student work during workshops, which will begin early in the semester. Ideally, each student will see two workshop sessions devoted to his or her work, with the second workshop open, if desired, to another draft of the prose discussed in the first workshop. During the workshop, one student will serve as the editor of the piece under evaluation.

There is a major writing assignment of 15-20 pages, double-spaced. This can be a single story or two or, under some circumstances, a chapter of a longer work. Class participation is vital and expected.

fulfills requirements