English | Writing Fiction 2
W612 | 16103 | Miller

W612  16103 ALYCE MILLER
Writing Fiction 2

4:40p – 7:40 p M


Prerequisite:  Because of space considerations, enrollment is
generally restricted to graduate fiction students enrolled in our
MFA program.

This workshop will encourage you to take chances, to try things
you=ve always wanted to, but maybe never have. If you find yourself
typically more comfortable writing in third person, maybe this is
the semester to try first person (we will talk a lot about point of
view).  If your fiction usually winds up at a certain page length,
you may want to experiment with “space,” going either shorter or
longer to play with expansion and compression. If you want to try
Aexperimental fiction@ (however you define that), go right ahead.
We will also  focus on revision, and what it means to Asee again.@

Expect to draft, revise, and polish work new work written only this
semester (between 40-60 pages of new work), the bulk of which will
be read and discussed  in a formal workshop setting.  Novel chapters
are fine so long as they are reasonably self-contained and don=t
require an Aepic setup.@  We may experiment with 500-word Asudden
fictions@ which can be treated more spontaneously (a la a poetry
workshop) and read hot off the press  right in class.  The final
portfolio will include revisions, a short critical piece or two to
be explained in class, and a final letter to me in which you reflect
upon your progress as a writer.  In addition, all class members will
write one-page substantive peer critiques that are due the day of

Outside readings will likely include an on-line course packet of
mostly contemporary works by some Afamous@ writers and other writers
who aren=t Athe toast of New York@ or over-anthologized, some of
whom I hope you=ve never heard of before, and who I believe
demonstrate the plasticity and possibility of the form.  Readings
will represent an eclectic range of styles, aesthetics,
sensibilities, and even forms.  There will likely also be some
critical readings to jump-start craft discussions about point of
view, story, audience, etc.

Craft is inextricably connected to worldview, and we will look at
not only how stories are made, but Ahow and what@  they Amean.@
AWorkshopese@ (this story hasn=t earned its ending; there aren=t
enough plot cookies) and “theoryspeak@ (the positionality of
hegemonic discourses problemetizes the agency of . . .) will be
actively discouraged.  Instead, fresh, imaginative neologisms
offering provocative and challenging insights and  ideas articulated
in fresh, thoughtful, critical  language that emerge from our
discussions are strongly encouraged.  Humor is definitely
permitted.  Whatever we can do to jump-start your writing . . . .

Grading is always individualized, but will definitely be based on
the same criteria for everyone: the quality and quantity of the work
you submit, as well as the substance of contributions to class
discussions and the written critiques.  The portfolio represents
work done over the entire semester, and will be evaluated as such.
As might be expected, lack of preparation, participation, or
attendance, or missing work will adversely affect final grades.

Pre course highly suggested reading includes enough familiarity with
all/some/a little of the following medley of Aold chestnuts@ that
you can at least hum part of the melody:

Writing Fiction, Janet Burroway; The Rhetoric of Fiction, Wayne
Booth; Aspects of the Novel, E. M. Forster; The Art of Fiction, John
Gardner; Critical Practice, Catherine Belsey; Ways of Seeing, John
Berger; Literary Theory, Terry Eagleton; The Poetics of Prose,
Todorov; The Reader's Guide to Literary Theory, Raman Selden; Story
and Discourse, Chatman; Six Memos for the Next Millennium, Calvino;
The Art of the Novel, Kundera; Playing in the Dark, Morrison; Six
Walks in the Fictional Woods, Eco; stories in Norton Anthology of
Short Fiction (long 4th or 5th editions); Being and Race, Charles
Johnson; Mythologies, or Image, Music, Text, Barthes; anything by
Foucault, but you should definitely know his AWhat Is An Author@
essay; Feminisms edited by Robyn Warhol; Culture Outlaw, bell hooks,

Please note there is always a full class session the first day, and
the reading schedule, along with an assignment, will be emailed to
you over the December break.  If for some reason you have not
received this information by January 1, 2006, please contact me
a.s.a.p. at almiller@indiana.edu so that you can be fully prepared.
Because of computer complications in the past, I can use only your
IU email address, so please do not request that your mail be sent to
other accounts.

If you have discovered a writer whose work you think might be of
interest to the class, let me know and I will happily consider
adding your recommendation to the reading list.