Subject to change
Note: all readings not hyperlinked can be found in Google Docs
Week 1: 8/21 THE FORMAL SPECTRUM OF FICTION
- Poems from Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology
- Narrative Theory: David Jausss, “Stacking Stones: Building a Unified Short Story Collection”
- Cathy Day, “The Story Problem: 10 Thoughts on Academia’s Novel Crisis,” The Millions
- Spoon River Anthology is a collection of linked poems. I’ve “unlinked” them, and we’ll work in small groups in order to “re-link” them. Using Jauss’s article as a springboard, we’ll also begin to develop a vocabulary for discussing linked fiction.
Week 2: 8/28 TURNING STORIES INTO A NOVEL
Reading (all before class)
- Raymond Carver, Short Cuts (stories)
- Robert Altman’s Short Cuts (film) – on reserve at Bracken Library
- See: Short Cuts Active Viewing Worksheet
- Group A: (Banning, Gutheil, Mack-Jackson) watch film first, then read stories.
- Group B: (Englert, Maakestad, Thomsen) read stories first, then watch film.
WEEK 3: 9/4 TURNING A NOVEL INTO STORIES: Part 1
- Fiction: Evan S. Connell’s Mrs. Bridge
- Essay: “Novels into Stories, Stories into Novels” from my blog, The Big Thing
- Bring to class a list of subplots/layers/throughlines in Mrs. Bridge
WEEK 4: 9/11 TURNING A NOVEL INTO STORIES: PART 2
- Fiction: Evan S. Connell’s short story “The Beau Monde of Mrs. Bridge”
- Fiction: Cathy Day’s short story “Etiquette Lessons” extracted from novel
- Each student will “extract” a short story from the novel and present it in class. Due on TUESDAY by 5 PM so that we have time to read them before class.
- Write a 2-10 sentence “logline” that describes the project you’ll be working on this semester. You have the option to share it on your blog (public) or in Google docs (private).
Week 5: 9/18 CHAPTERS VS. STORIES: Part 1
- Fiction: Sherwood Anderson, Winesburg, Ohio,
- Narrative Theory: Mann, from The Short Story Cycle, chapter on Winesburg, Ohio
- Narrative Theory, Norm Friedman, “What Makes a Short Story Short?”
- Group A: Strategize how to make Winesburg, Ohio less “novel-like”
- Group B: Strategize how to make Winesburg, Ohio more “novel-like”
Rex Pickett Virtual Visit to campus!
WEEK 6: 9/25 CHAPTERS VS. STORIES: PART 2
- Fiction: Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
- Narrative Theory: James Nagel, “The Nightmare of Resonance: Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried”
- Group A: How many diptychs can you extract from The Things They Carried?
- Group B: How many triptychs can you extract from The Things They Carried?
WEEK 7: 10/2 CHAPTERS VS. STORIES: PART 3
- Fiction: Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad
- Narrative Theory: John Barth, “It’s a Short Story”
- Group A: Restructure the book from “A” and “B” side into 2 or 3 other sections, such as a “Bennie” section and a “Sasha” section, etc.
- Group B: Restructure the book into chronological order
WEEK 8: 10/9 FIVE NARRATIVE MODES: The Building Blocks of Fiction
- Translate the Egan story “Great Rock and Roll Pauses” from Power Point to a “normal” story. There will be times when you must become very inventive in order to “translate” some of the material.
- We’ll also discuss the format of your manuscripts.
WEEK 9: 10/16 No Class, conferences available
WEEK 10: 10/23 WORKSHOP YOUR PROJECTS
WEEK 11: 10/30 WORKSHOP YOUR PROJECT
WEEK 12: 11/6 WORKSHOP YOUR PROJECT
WEEK 13: 11/13 PREP FOR VWS VISIT
- Kathleen Rooney, Robinson Alone
Week 14: 11/20 KATHLEEN ROONEY VISIT
- No class
- Attend her class visit and reading at 7:30 PM
WEEK 15: 11/27 THANKSGIVING—NO CLASS
WEEK 16: 12/4 THE SUBMISSION PROCESS: Reviewing Query Letters
WEEK 17: 12/12 FINALS
Our scheduled final exam time is:
(I think) Thurs, Dec. 12 at 2:15 PM
that’s when your final manuscript is due.