Creative Writing: Introduction to Fiction (online)

Resilient Writing
English 1510
Section 02
Mikey Borgard
Course Description

“Write hard and clear about what hurts,” says Hemingway. In this course, we will examine the art of fiction writing through the lenses of resilience and trauma. We will explore both the literal and metaphorical definitions of “resilience” with the goal of learning to write short stories that move our readers in inventive ways. “Words are,” according to J. K. Rowling, “our most inexhaustible source of magic.”

At the introductory level, our aim is to learn and implement the basic aspects of scene and elements of storytelling. We will investigate how authors paint their settings, create memorable characters, and evoke emotion through their writings. We will explore the vocabulary of fiction and hone knowledge of craft elements like point of view, description, and dialogue. The heart of this course will be experimentation with creative writing prompts, workshops of manuscripts-in-progress, discussions about craft, and critical examinations of published works.

We will rely on the craft guidance of Anne Lamott and Janet Burroway to learn the art of fiction, and these texts will be supplemented by notable authors like Edgar Poe, Margaret Atwood, Junot Díaz, and Charles Yu. We will also read one full-length novel: Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. Our emphasis is on historical, contemporary, and experimental works that demonstrate resilience, employ affective language, and/or grapple with various forms of trauma. During the course, we will write and workshop two individual manuscripts, and at the end of the semester, we will each create a writing portfolio that includes one revised, original work.