English 290F - Fall, 2015

Seminar in Creative Writing of Fiction

Class Information

Instructor: Houston, Pam
Time: R 12:10-3:00
Location: 120 Voorhies


    I feel that it is my job as workshop leader to create and hold a space in which students feel free to take stylistic, artistic, and emotional risks.
    In this class we will investigate some of the essential components of fiction including (but not limited to) image, metaphor, form, structure, voice, dialogue, character, scene, beginnings, endings, and narrative arc. We will enact, witness and critique what I believe to be the central mechanism of fiction: the translation of the emotional stakes of the story onto its physical landscape, the way we dip our ladles into the bottomless pot of metaphor soup that is our lived and imagined experience and pull out what we need. We will be aiming for layered stories in which every line is working at least two ways at once, stories in which the language is more than simply a flat bed trailer in which the writer hauls the content of the story around but occasionally rises into what Steve Almond calls the lyric register.
    Each student will be expected to turn in three new pieces of fiction during the course of the semester (either stories or novel chapters), and turn in approximately 50 pages of workshopped and polished fiction by the end of the semester. There will be weekly reading and brief weekly exercises at the beginning of the semester.


    Music For Wartime, Rebecca Makkai
    The Angel Esmeralda, Don DeLillo
    Paradise, Toni Morrison
    Going To Meet The Man, James Baldwin
    Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story (single story), Russell Banks
    Sunshine (single story), Lynn Freed