Good writers are exacting yet sympathetic readers. We write as readers of our own drafts, as of others' work. To learn to write a story is to learn to discern the instincts and logic that shape it. Because this is the course's premise, applicants will be asked to submit a sample of their work that demonstrates their competence as critical writers. Applicants need not be accomplished fiction writers; those who are won't have it held against them. The class will be one-third reading seminar and two-thirds writing workshop. We will learn to read like working writers by analyzing short stories by authors like Babel, Beckett, Barthelme, Foster Wallace, Kincaid, Murdoch, Malamud, Narayan, and others whose fiction flirts with the irrational. We will ask: what is the effect of a phrase or passage? How might it have been written otherwise and with what consequences? Students will keep a reading journal, to be mined for their own short story. Where appropriate, the works of students and published writers will be discussed side by side and a similar editorial sensibility will be brought to both. The instructor will discuss students' work both in workshop and privately, operating always with the principle that if getting words down is the first part of a writer┐s task, revision is the better part of it. The aim of the course is to make students readers, writers and revisers. Students will emerge from the course with a well-made story in hand, one that they like and believe in and are perhaps even proud of, and they will know what it takes to write another.
COURSE FORMAT: Discussion
Level: UGRD Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA ENGL Grading Mode: Graded
Last Updated on MAR-30-2006
Copyright Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 06459