“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.” Flannery O’Connor
The advice is often given to writers, if you want to write, then read. But just reading is often not enough if we don’t know what we are looking for in the story. In this class we will read short stories by contemporary masters of short fiction and analyze them to write our own stories. We will read stories by Alice Munro, Ted Chiang, Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison and Carmen Maria Machado. We study master short stories to learn their secrets and borrow them.
Each week we will discuss a different story and look at how authors deal with use of time, point of view, narrative voice, the element of surprise and growth of a character. You will have a weekly mini-assignment towards completing your story and we will spend part of each class looking at drafts of our your stories in smaller groups. In the final two weeks you will turn in a complete short story and discuss it in workshop with the class.
Asynchronous learning materials for this class will be available online (via the Wet Ink platform). Scheduled class sessions will take place via Zoom. Registered students, please contact the instructor directly for Zoom details.