Fall 2005
Fully Enrolled

HUMS 607
Writing Desire: A Fiction Workshop


09/12/2005 - 12/17/2005
Wednesday 07:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Downey 100

Desire drives narrative tension in fiction. This course will explore how to use the spine of desire to build a narrative structure, and how to infuse language with the subtle churning of flirtation, longing, hunger, and passion. Taking cues from writers such as Phillip Roth, Anais Nin, Vladimir Nabokov, Collette, and Steve Almond, we will practice writing the sensual detail, the halting conversation, the flashback of recalled gesture, the movement toward a first touch, and the drawing of those tendrils into a full story. Studying assigned writers and workshopping our own efforts, we will map out the architecture of each narrative, to bare the connections that form a whole, successful story.

Readings include Steve Almond, My Life in Heavy Metal; Phillip Roth, Portnoy's Complaint; Colette, Cheri and the Last of Cheri,; Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita; selections from Henry Miller and Anais Nin; and Dorothea Brandt's, Becoming a Writer. The following films will also be required: Henry and June, Closer, and Crash.

For each class, we will discuss an assigned writer, engage in a writing exercise, and workshop a short story by one or two students. Students will be responsible for the following work: one 500 word story each week, based on one word ("the word of the week") as announced by the instructor; one story for in-class discussion and critique; three short-short stories, one full-length, finished story; and a final reading at Russell House. Active participation in class discussions and class exercises is required.

Jamie Callan (B.A. Bard College; M.A. Goddard College; M.F.A. University of California, Los Angeles) is a writer whose short fiction has appeared in many magazines, including The Missouri Review, Buzz Magazine, American Letters & Commentary, and Best American Erotica 2002. While a film student at UCLA, her screenplay "Thrill Rides" won a Goldwyn Award, a Jack Nicholson Award and was a finalist for the Disney Fellowship and the American Academy's Screenwriting Award. Her most recent book, Hooking Up or Holding Out is forthcoming from SourceBooks in November 2006, and her writing exercises are being published as The Writer's Toolbox, forthcoming from Chronicle Books in spring 2007.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Steve Almond, MY LIFE IN HEAVY METAL (Grove Press), Paperback

Dorothea Brandt, BECOMING A WRITER (Tarcher), Paperback

Susie Bright, THE BEST AMERICAN EROTICA 2005 (Touchstone), Paperback


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