W381 25930 THE CRAFT OF FICTION
PREREQUISITE: Requires permission of the instructor.
4:00p-5:15p TR (15 students) 3 cr.
Fiction, like physics or philosophy, is a mode of knowledge. While it should be entertaining, fiction at its best is also revelatory. It is a powerful medium for musing or remembering or dreaming, for speculating or documenting, for probing the depths and heights of human experience. In this course we will closely examine a series of short stories in order to see how they are made, paying attention to matters of style, form, characterization, point of view, and voice, all with an eye toward understanding how fiction explores and illuminates our mysterious existence. The class will be conducted as a discussion, and therefore thorough preparation and faithful attendance are crucial. You will be asked to submit a brief (1-2 page) response or creative exercise each week, a 4-6 page story or critical essay at mid-semester, and an 8-12 page story or critical essay at the end of the semester. You will also be asked, along with a partner, to lead the discussion in two class meetings during the semester. Our readings will be drawn from a trio of moderately- priced anthologies: David Madden, ed., Vintage Short Fiction, Vol. I and Vol. II, and Tobias Wolff, ed., The Vintage Book of Contemporary Short Stories.