Prose Courses

Prose Course Descriptions

English 90: Fiction Writing (Autumn, Winter, Spring)
English 90 explores the basic elements of fiction writing, including narrative, scene, character, and dialogue, as well as the habits necessary to grow as a writer. Students will read a wide variety of short stories alongside essays on writing craft in order to develop a language for talking about how fiction works. Frequent writing exercises, often inspired by the readings, will underscore specific craft problems and perhaps generate longer stories. In the second half of the quarter, students will complete a short story (8-20 pages) and offer it to the class for critique in a workshop setting. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: PWR 1.

English 91: Creative Nonfiction (Autumn, Winter, Spring)
English 91 introduces the groundbreaking genre of creative nonfiction, focusing on the many and fluid forms of the essay. Students will work together to figure out what essays they want to write, how they want to write them, and they you can call upon the elements of craft—voice, scene, description, structure—in order to achieve this. Students will examine works from across time and nationality for their craft and technique, and then experiment with our own writing exercises. The latter half of the course will be devoted to workshop, in which students read and respond to each other’s longer nonfiction projects. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: PWR 1.

English 94: Writing Across Genres (Winter, Spring)
In a supportive laboratory setting, students will explore the elements that connect poetry and prose: breath, image, voice, character, setting, and story. This is a writing-intensive class that minimizes in-class workshop in favor of deep craft discussions and exercises.

English 146: Development of the Short Story: Continuity and Innovation (Spring)
The dual concept of continuity and innovation. Exploration of the short story form’s ongoing evolution as diverse writers address love, death, desire, violence, and empathy. Texts include Maupassant, Babel, Chopin, D. H. Lawrence, Woolf, and Flannery O’Connor.

English 190: Intermediate Fiction Writing (Autumn, Winter, Spring)
English 190 is an intermediate course in the craft and art of fiction writing. Students will spend a short time re-examining the basic elements of fiction: narration, description, and dialogue. But mostly students will spend their time reading advanced works of short fiction, presenting reports about the craft of fiction, doing in-class writing exercises, and commenting upon each others’ creative work. Students will submit a short (2-5 page) and a longer (8-20 page) story to be workshopped and revised. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: English 90 or 91.

English 190 G: The Graphic Novel (Autumn, Winter)
This interdisciplinary course is designed to examine the evolution, subject matter, form and future of the graphic novel genre. The focus will be on how artists create stories and characters that matter in this genre, rather than how to interpret and contextualize such works. The central project of the course will be the collaborative creation of a graphic novel via a team of writers, illustrators, and designers. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: English 90 or 91. Special application required. Click here to view Graphic Novel Gallery

English 190 F: Fiction Into Film (Winter)
Students will spend the first half of the course adapting fictional stories into short screenplays. They will also study ‘sequencing’ as a screenwriting tool by studying films and their screenplays. Students will read and comment on each other’s work. In the second half of the course, each student will write a fifteen-page screenplay (complete or partial work), and submit it to the class for a workshop critique. Priority given to seniors and Film Studies majors. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: English 90 or 91.

English 190 T: Special Topics in Intermediate Fiction (Autumn, Spring)
Focus on a particular topic or process. Work includes aspects of reading short stories and novels, writing at least 30-50 pages of fiction, and responding to peers’ work in workshop. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: English 90 or 91.

English 190 V: Reading For Writers—Stein Visiting Writer (Spring)
Content is subject to the desires of the Stein Visiting Writer. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: English 90 or 91.

*Spring 2012, with Abraham Verghese: Taught by the Stein Visiting Writer: The theme will be THE BODY AS TEXT. Food writing, pathographies, plague narratives, stories about very old men who sprout enormous wings, women who take flight, or young men who turn into cockroaches will all be considered as falling within this genre.  Classes will be a mix of discussions, readings, workshop and weekly assignments. English 90 or 91 is a prerequisite as is a curiosity about the body.  Application requirement: A writing sample of any genre of at least one page and no more than three.

English 191: Intermediate Creative Nonfiction (Autumn, Winter, Spring)
In this course, students will write four short (3-4 page) personal essays, along with a wide variety of exercises designed to help students write out of their comfort zones, overcome writer’s block, free up the unconscious mind, and develop sophistication of style.  Students will share their work and feedback in a supportive workshop setting, and will read personal essays written by the some of the finest contemporary practitioners of the genre. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: English 90 or 91.

English 191 T: Special Topics in Intermediate Creative Nonfiction (Spring)
Focus is on forms of the essay. Students will study works from across time and nationality for their craft and technique. Students experiment with writing exercises, read, and respond to each other’s longer nonfiction projects. May be taken twice for credit. Prerequisite: English 90 or 91.

English 290: Advanced Fiction Writing (Autumn)
English 290 is an advanced course on the craft and art of fiction writing. In this course, students will continue to receive instruction on how to read short stories as writers—studying and emulating craft points—but their own writing will be the main focus. Accordingly, students will primarily follow the workshop model wherein students bring their own story drafts to class for group discussion, and thereby develop the skills to constructively critique and workshop one another’s work. This course assumes that students have a serious interest in short stories, as well as in discussing the writing of them with others likewise engaged. Prerequisite: Manuscript, consent of instructor, and a 190-level fiction workshop.