ENGL498 - Advanced Fiction Workshop

This is a class in the practice of writing, with an emphasis on the revision process. It is also a class in the practice of reading as a writer. The two are inextricably linked and you will do as much reading as you do writing, the idea being that the surest way of becoming a better writer is to read voraciously and extensively. We will read short stories and essays on the craft of fiction in an effort to understand and articulate how particular stories are built and how to construct your own stories. Before we begin to discuss stories in a workshop setting, we will spend the first several weeks reading fiction and essays about fiction and doing exercises related to the making of a story (imagery, synesthesia, prose rhythm, pacing, dialogue, using research and history as a springboard into fictional material). Through the short exercises, you will create material that will be useful to you when it comes to your longer stories for workshop. One of the essential things you will be learning in this class is how to talk about fiction critically. That is to say, going beyond the simple notion of "liking" or "not liking" a story and entering into sophisticated, eloquent discussions that have to do with whether a story is working or not working. When considering stories by published authors or stories by fellow students the questions remain the same: What are the laws of this particular story? Does the story abide by its own laws? Has the author successfully created a recognizable world with the story? Requirements: written exercises, annotations of anthology stories, written critiques for each workshop story, ten-minute presentation of an anthology story and an accompanying response paper, two original stories and two revisions.


ENGL396 or permission of the department; to register for the course, students need a stamp from Undergraduate English Studies (1128 Tawes; english@umd.edu; 301-405-3825).