Spring 2004

HUMS 608
Architecture of Fiction


01/26/2004 - 05/08/2004
Tuesday 07:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Public Affairs Center 136

This course is designed for students who are interested in developing and furthering their craft, and constructing strong, well-plotted stories that satisfy on emotional as well as intellectual levels. Students will workshop finished first drafts as a template for revision moving toward a deeper, more complex level of form and function within their fictional narratives. Discussion will also address story structure including Aristotles Dramatic Arc, Alice Adams' formula for the short story, and the Native American Story Wheel. Students will be guided into a tectonic arrangement of the essential elements of fiction, including voice, plot, theme, viewpoint, dialogue, action, and sensory details.

Students will engage in numerous in-class, as well as out-of-class writing exercises, many culled from books on creative theory, such as Julia Cameron's THE ARTISTS WAY and Natalie Goldberg's WRITING DOWN THE BONES. The stories are discussed in a supportive atmosphere that builds up to evocative, risk-taking prose, experimental as well as traditional work, and powerful revisions. There will be much discussion on the literary marketplace and the business of publishing.

Reading will be both illustrative (short stories from THE NEW YORKER, HARPER'S MAGAZINE, BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES), as well as inspirational (i.e., essays from Annie Dillard, Brenda Ueland, Kim Stafford, Hemingway, and Proust). There will also be various short readings from POETS AND WRITERS, ASSOCIATED WRITING PROGRAM NEWSLETTE, and THE NEW YORK TIMES "ON WRITING" series.

Students will submit three new short stories. One of these will be rewritten, lengthened, and polished through to a final draft. Among the assignments are short-short stories, full-length stories, flash fiction, and scene work using dialogue. In addition to the required books, there will be short weekly reading assignments.

Students will be evaluated according to development and growth of individual short fiction pieces. In grading, the instructor will also consider class participation, commentary on fellow student work, response to reading assignments, and a willingness to rewrite and revise fiction.

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:
Dorothea Brande, BECOMING A WRITER (J.P. Tarcher) Paperback

Natalie Goldberg, WRITING DOWN THE BONES (Shambhala) Paperback

Katrina Kenison, BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 2003 (Mariner Books) Paperback


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