Fiction Workshop

[Shawna Yang Ryan is the English Department’s Visiting Distinguished Writer for Spring 2012. For her biography, see].  “Read, read, read. Read
everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a
carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the most. Read! You’ll absorb
it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the

William Faulkner

The intent
of this workshop is to make students familiar with a wide range of styles and
forms of fiction, and allow them to start developing a personal aesthetic for
what makes a piece of writing “work.” A mix of assigned exercises and open
writing will allow students to hone craft while experimenting with style and form.
Our readings will also help students define what the elements of fiction are,
and how they work.

In the
workshop format, the attentiveness and thoughtfulness of the peer group is
essential; therefore, attendance and participation will be reflected in the
course grade. Each week, expect to read and discuss selections from Making
Shapely Fiction
, as well 1-2 published stories, and peer work. In addition
to shorter weekly assignments, students are expected to workshop 3 stories over
the course of the semester.

Updike, John, and Katrina Kenison. The Best American Short Stories Of The
. Mariner Books, 2000.
Stern, Jerome. Making Shapely Fiction. W. W. Norton & Company, 2001.