Form and Theory of Fiction

ENGLISH 413: FICTION FORM & THEORY

We could subtitle this class “Rules of the Short Story and How to Break Them.” The first third of the term will be spent studying the most common structures and forms of the short story genre. The second third of the term we’ll move into experimentation and “rule breaking” (e.g.: borrowing trends from genres such as creative nonfiction, reading flash and other types of fiction, etc.) in order to nuance the narrative rules we established in the first weeks. Finally, the last third of the term will be spent on revision and re-envisioning, as well as further understanding the modes of thinking and writing that best suit the stories we wish to tell.

Assignments & Activities:

  • reading, notating, and analyzing (as a writer would) published short fiction and essays on the craft of fiction
  • writing a minimum of 5 short experiments focused on a single craft technique
  • drafting a minimum of 3 short stories, each to be submitted to a workshop
  • revising at least 2 short stories for inclusion in a final portfolio
    • the final portfolio will also include an analytical apparatus that discusses one’s inspirations, writing and revising process, and key craft techniques

Also required are active participation in class discussion and excellent attendance.

Readings will be distributed as .pdf files on Laulima.