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Instructor Class Description

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Lowell A Brower
ENGL 284
Seattle Campus

Beginning Short Story Writing

Introduction to the theory and practice of writing the short story.

Class description

English 284

The Bright Blank Page: Beginning Fiction Writing

"What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you." - Anne Lamott

This course is ideal for students who love to read and want to write. We will be doing a good deal of both as best we can. The bulk of class time will be devoted to engaging with published fiction, studying elements of narrative craft, and respectfully rigorous peer workshopping. We'll read and study a wide array of fictions, from ancient folktales and myths to contemporary short stories and collages. We'll read about wolf-men and shebeen queens, disgruntled soldiers and failing strippers, mourning mothers and killer robots. Our literary journey will take us around the world, from Alabama to Zanzibar, as we examine the variations and convergences of the world's storytelling traditions. There will be brief lectures on key craft elements such as plot, voice, pacing, point of view, dialogue, and character; but our primary focus will be on the practice of these techniques. To this end, we'll be completing lots of in-class exercises as well as weekly writing assignments. At the conclusion of the course each student will compile a final portfolio of revised writing (including several finished short stories), but it is my hope that you'll leave with something more than that: that you'll have fallen in love with the practice of writing, or been eviscerated by one of the stories, that you'll have written something you're proud of or surprised by, and that you'll be hungry for more.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
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Last Update by Lowell A Brower
Date: 04/22/2009