Fiction Workshop (CW)

[Shawna Yang Ryan is the English Department’s Visiting Distinguished Writer for Spring 2012. For her biography, see].  In a conversation with David
Foster Wallace, Don DeLillo said, “I was not a born novelist (if anyone is). I
had to grow into novelhood.” This class is designed to allow students to “grow”
into their writing—whether it is short fiction or a novel—through a deeper
exploration of the craft of fiction and a rigorous approach to the necessary discipline
of a writer’s path. Students will hone concrete writing skills by learning to
be more conscious of—in their own work and that of others—the elements of
fiction and how they function. The workshop element will not only help students
fine-tune their skills as critics, but will also allow them to gain perspective
on how others receive their work. Weekly writing assignments will encourage
students to develop the discipline of a sustained and consistent writing
practice, and create opportunity for risk-free stylistic exploration.

In addition to weekly writing
assignments, students are expected to turn in three pieces for workshop. We
will also be reading parts of Don DeLillo’s epic novel Underworld. Its collage form allows both short-fiction writers and
novelists to draw lessons from DeLillo’s technique. Because we are creating a
literary community, class participation and attendance will make up a large
part of the grade.


Brady, Catherine. Story
Logic And The Craft Of Fiction
. Palgrave MacMillan, 2010.

DeLillo, Don. Underworld.
Scribner Book Company, 1998.