Spring 2009
Fully Enrolled

HUMS 648
Taking the Plunge: A Novel Writing Workshop

Basch,Rachel N.

01/27/2009 - 05/05/2009
Tuesday 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM

Public Affairs Center 136

Flannery O'Connor said, "Writing a novel is a terrible experience during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. It is a plunge into reality and it's very shocking to the system."

Whether one is in possession of a completed draft or in the beginning stages of plotting a long work, this course will provide technical and artistic guidance for the student committed to the marathon that is the writing of a novel.

We will read a number of short novels in our attempt to uncover the alchemy involved in creating a unified fictional world. Among the writers whose work we will study are: Ivan Turgenev, Edith Wharton, Graham Greene, Jane Smiley, Ann Patchett, and Ian McEwan.

The class will be run as a workshop, with each student responsible for sharing a synopsis and general outline of the work planned. Twice during the semester, each student will submit a chapter of the work-in-progress for critique by the class. The primary focus will be on crafting a viable structure for the novel, as well as developing complex characters powerful enough to seduce a reader for the long haul.

This course is best suited to students with fiction-writing experience. In addition to the creative writing in the course, each student is expected to participate fully in the discussions of both the published and student work. Enrollment is limited to 14. This course is not open to auditors.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus

Rachel Basch (B.A. Wesleyan University; M.A. New York University) is the author of two novels. The Passion of Reverend Nash (W.W. Norton) was named one of the five best novels of 2003 by The Christian Science Monitor. Degrees of Love (W.W. Norton, Harper Paperbacks) was translated into Dutch and German and was a selection of The Hartford Courant's Book Club. Basch's non-fiction has appeared in Parenting and on The Huffington Post, and she has reviewed books for The Washington Post Book World. Basch was a 2011 MacDowell Colony Fellow. She recently received the William Van Wert fiction prize for an excerpt from her new novel, The Listener. She currently teaches in Fairfield University's MFA program.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 14

Texts to purchase for this course:
Amis, Kinglsey, Lucky Jim, Penguin Classics, 1993
ISBN-10: 0140186301

McEwan, Ian, On Chesil Beach, Anchor, 2008
ISBN-10: 0307386171

Patchett, Ann, Bel Canto, Harper Perennial, 2005
ISBN-10: 0060838728

Wharton, Edith, Ethan Frome, Dover Thrift Ed., 1991
ISBN-10: 0486266907

Smile, Jane, Ordinary Love & Good Will, Anchor, 2007
ISBN-10: 10030727909X

Greene, Graham, The End of the Affair, Vintage Classics, 2004
ISBN-10: 0099478447

Burroway, Janet, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, 6th Ed., Longman, 2002
ISBN-10: 0321117956

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