English 100F - Spring, 2015

Creative Writing: Fiction

Class Information

Instructor: Houston, Pam
Time: T 6:10-9:00
Location: 248 Voorhies


    In this class we will work toward demystifying some of the essential components of fiction (image, metaphor, structure, dialogue, character, scene, among others) and turning them into comprehensible tools that are at our disposal. 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. We will be aiming for stories in which the language is always working in at least two ways at once, where metaphors dance between meanings like beads of water on a too hot grill. We will begin with what I believe to be the real artistry of story writing: 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 of our lived and witnessed experience and pull out what we need; the way we pick up hunks of the physical world and bring it back to the page, translated into language.
    Each student will be expected to turn in three new stories or three sections of a novel-in-progress during the course of the quarter, two to the whole class, according to the schedule we will make on the first night, and one new piece of fiction to me at the end of the quarter. I will also ask for a revision of one or the other of the first two pieces. There will be reading assignments throughout the quarter and weekly writing exercises early on that will give way to workshop after a few weeks.


    Students will be graded on the quality of the writing assignments and the revision they turn in, as well as on their participation in class discussion of both student work and the assigned reading material.


    The Tenth of December, George Saunders
    Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, ZZ Packer
    Battleborn, Claire Vaye Watkins
    On Such A Full Sea, Chang Rae Lee