Common fiction writing rules—Focus on imagery! Hook the reader! Don’t use too many exclamation points!—can act as important guardrails for writers new to the form. But as our writing instincts develop, those rules often become constraints that prevent us from pursuing strange, exciting developments in our work. In this course, we will read and discuss literature that breaks the rules of conventional fiction by defying genre, mixing media, and troubling our understandings of “standard english.” Readings will include work by Ishmael Reed, George Saunders, Fran Ross, Karen Russell, Marlon James, and Lydia Davis, among others. Our classes will function as a kind of writing lab, a space where students will do weekly writing that challenges them to experiment with the content and form of their writing, and helps them develop their own writing aesthetic.