what is the story about, but how is the story going about its business,
whatever its business might be is our question. What is the story’s tactic of
mattering, its strategy to last inside a reader? How is it scheming to be
something I might care about? Anthologist Ben Marcus used these premises for
his anthology, and we will be answering him with imitations of some of these
amazing stories as a way to understand what matters in our own stories. The
work is then discussed both in terms of its success as an imitation and as a
discrete story and revised for a portfolio due at the end of term.
participation is crucial to the workshop’s success. All classes start on time.
Two absences, excused or unexcused, lower your grade by a letter. Ten minutes
late, and you are counted absent. No mistakes in spelling or
punctuation—spell-check and then read every submission aloud before duplicating
it for the class. All assignments must be typed. All cell phones must be turned
OFF in class. Do not come to class if you must receive a text or a call.
Required: a substantially revised portfolio of 13 imitations
of at least five pages each, and one student-generated story that reflects your
excitement about what matters. If you would like feedback on a story we do not
review in class, please make an appointment to see me in my office. All
student-generated fiction will be reviewed in the last two classes. You will
also read three novellas which we will discuss: From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus, Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathaniel West, and Pale Horse, Pale Rider by Katherine Ann Porter. You will also be
required to attend at least one reading during the semester.
text: The Anchor Book of New American
Short Stories, ed. Ben Marcus