Spring 2004

Fiction Writing I, section 3

Thursdays 5 to 7:20 pm

Rockefeller Library, A9

Instructor: Diana George
Office: 68 1/2 Brown, Room 304. Phone: 863-9406. Office Hours, TBA.


This is an immersion course in the writing of fiction. The goals of the course are for you to:

  • Develop your prose fiction style(s).
  • Risk failure (aesthetic failure, not failing-the-course failure).
  • Write every day. Build a writing practice you can sustain long after this semester.
  • Write stories.

During a typical week, you can expect to:

  • Read a novel, and discuss it in class.
  • Write two or more writing assignments, which you’ll hand in to me.
  • Read your work aloud.
  • Keep a daily journal that is not a diary.
  • Bring in a sample your favorite writer, and teach a few of your classmates about it.

In the course of the semester, you will:

  • Turn in a portfolio of all your work at mid-semester.
  • Turn in a chapbook of your selected works at the end of the semester, last day of class.
  • Write at least one long, revised story. “Long" means at least 10 pages, minimum.
  • Give the kind of thoughtful, sensitive, intelligent feedback you yourself would like to receive. We’re all here to take risks with new voices and styles.
  • Hang onto your syllabus.
  • Attend regularly. Two absences jeopardize your passing the class.

Get to the know the course web site. Visit it often.

Required texts:

  • Anton Chekhov, The Essential Tales of  Chekhov.
  • J.M. Coetzee, Dusklands.
  • Janet Frame, Scented Gardens for the Blind.
  • John Keene, Annotations.
  • Dambudzo Marechera, Black Sunlight.
  • James Purdy, I Am Elijah Thrush.
  • Marie Redonnet, Nevermore.
  • Course packet at Allegra.

  • Double-space your written work.
  • Use page numbers.

  Useful Links:

Matthew Stadler on Writing Conferences
Robert Gluck interviews Dennis Cooper
Bernadette Mayer's List of Writing Experiments
Ben Marcus Interview with Brian Evenson
Brian Kiteley's Writing Exercises
Bias at New York Times Book Review

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