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July

 

July 5Th  MFA102: Sentence Structures, Propositions, Subtext and Syntax

Course length: 2 weeks

“Proposition” is a familiar term to students of logic or rhetoric. It simply means an expressed thought put forward for the receiver to accept or not accept. Every individual idea, concept, action, emotion and description we communicate through a sentence is a proposition, a thought represented by a sequence of words. Some sentences have a single proposition, some have many.

 

July 5th  MFA054: Flash Nonfiction: Singular Moments - Against the Grain

Course Length: 5 Weeks

Course Description: MFA054 is the 5th in a series of flash nonfiction workshops (works under 2,000 words). Each of the series will use The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction. Courses in the series may be taken in any sequence, though reading the text's Introduction is recommended for those who haven't taken MFA50 yet.

 

July 9th  MF755: writing Linked Short Stories or the Novel-in-Stories Part 1

Course Length: Eight weeks

Course Description: This is the first in a two-part series of courses on writing linked stories, the novel-in-stories, or short story cycles. This is an advanced course. You should already know how to write a short story and have a few under your belt.  This is NOT a course on traditional novel writing.

Level of Difficulty 1 - 5: 5

 

July 12th  MFA214: Describing and Withholding

Course Length: 2 Weeks

One of the most pressing problems in writing has to do with how much information to share in the process of narration. How much do you need to tell the reader to reel him in? How much material should you withhold and why? These questions have to do with the issue of seduction. Aside from their characters, stories have two principal persona--the storyteller and the story hearer--who are engaged in a complicated and very personal relationship. The storyteller's primary job in narration is to exercise power over the story hearer, to make him want to listen. To succeed at controlling the hearer, a storyteller speaker must achieve authority and produce involvement. The challenge is: how do you achieve authority to let the story hearer know that you know what you are saying? At the same time, how do you produce involvement? You don't want it gives so much information that the story hearer becomes alienated or overwhelmed. All writers struggle at some point with the problem of balance between authority and involvement, seduction and revelation. Specifically, beginning writers wonder how much description to employ, and more advanced writers ask how much plot is too much or too little.

  

 

July 12th - MFA381: On Metaphor

Course Length: 2 weeks

Course Description: MFA381 is the seventh in a series of 8 prose poetry workshops (poems lengthwise half a page to 3–4 pages). Each of the courses in the series will use The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice. Courses in the series may be taken in any sequence, though reading the text's Introduction is recommended for those who haven't taken MFA375 yet.

  

July 12th - MFA158 Flash Fiction - Opening Up Your Writing

Course Length: 2 weeks

Course Description: OPening up your writing

 

  

July 17th  L247: Kij Johnson – At the Mouth of the River of Bees

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Course Description: Read and discuss "At the Mouth of the River of Bees" by Kij Johnson and write an original flash fiction story.

   

July 19th - MFA103: Creativity and the Cumulative Sentence

Course Length: 2 Weeks

The basic unit of thought is the sentence, and from these grow the paragraph, the short story, and the novel.

   

July 26th - MFA382: On Experiment

Course Length: 2 weeks

Course Description: MFA382 is the eighth in a series of 8 prose poetry workshops (poems lengthwise half a page to 3–4 pages). Each of the courses in the series will use The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice. Courses in the series may be taken in any sequence, though reading the text's Introduction is recommended for those who haven't taken MFA375 yet.

  

 

July 26th - MFA404: Writing for Online and Print Markets

Course Length: 16 Weeks

Course Description:  MFA404 teaches the craft and conventions of contemporary journalism. Students will draft, revise and workshop an article, a feature story, an opinion article and a blog post. 

 

July 26th - MFA215: Inflection, Tone and Pitch

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Course Description:  You get involved in a story when, among other reasons, you get attached to a set of narrated events, or when the tone of the narrative has so many signs of emphasis that it rouses itself to life and disbelief is suspended. The story starts to believe in itself. You also acquired a sensation that somebody has believed the story. That's called conviction, and it may be pleasant or unpleasant.

 

July 26th - MFA159: Flash Fiction - Smart Surprise

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Course Description: Smart Surprise in Flash Fiction.

 

 

 

August

 

August 2nd - MFA105: Tough, Sweet and Stuffy

Course length: 2 weeks

Course Description: When we first meet someone in person, we make judgments, and this is equally true when a reader reads an author. If the reader doesn't know the author or is unfamiliar with past works, a judgment is made, not of the real author, but an assumed author. The reader either accepts or rejects the author's imagined persona with line-by-line interaction. The reader also needs to know who they are supposed to be -- who the author has in mind to play the role of the reader in the text (see Reader As Fiction and Walter Ong's essay). Readers need to know they are in good hands. This is the underlying theme of Walker Gibson's "Tough, Sweet and Stuffy" essay, the one Brooks Landon often refers to in his lectures, though barely scratches the surface of what it covers.

 

August 7th - L239: Louisa May Alcott Short Story

Course Length: 1 Week

Course Description: Students participate in selected readings and write a short response essay.

 

August 9th - MFA160: Flash Fiction - Making Flash Count

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Course Description: Making Flash Count

 

August 16th - MFA216: Voice and Style

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Course Description: Some of the mystifications of voice include things like: voice is something to be found, that it is located somewhere off the page, that some authors or stories have more of it, that it can be borrowed and not returned, that it never changes, that it has to do with sincerity, that it is about expression, or that the author can be found in it. As these imply, there it is inside and outside to the notion: there is the voice of the individual piece of fiction, and there is what we call an author's voice. 

Style is the way the words take on an identity on the page. It is a kind of ownership agreement, in which any given writer lays claim, with his or her own identity, to an arrangement of words turned into self-revealing lines, turned into a work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Just as importantly, however much style can be defined by a nuts-and-bolts examination of words, sentence structure, or sentence arrangement, style is also mysteriously yours alone, inscribed with your unique vision of a sunset, a drive to the southwest, a journey into the interior world of a character.

 

August 21st - L240: Susan Glaspell Short Story

Course Length: 1 Week

Course Description: Students participate in selected readings and write a short response essay.

 

August 30th - MFA250: How to Hook the Reader

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Course Description:  Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution. It enabled us to imagine what might happen in the future and prepare for it. Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience reveal our brain is hardwired to respond to story. Given a choice, people prefer fiction to nonfiction.

Our neural circuitry is designed to crave story. This information is a game changer for writers. Research has helped decode the secret blueprint for story that's hardwired in the reader's brain. But there's a catch. For a story to captivate a reader, it must continually meet his or her hardwired expectations. There is an implicit framework that must underlie a story in order for that passion, that fire, to ignite the reader's brain. Stories without it go unread.

 

August 30th - MFA217 Magical Realism, Rules and How to Break Them

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Course Description:  In magical realism, extraordinary things are presented as though they are perfectly ordinary. Magical realism does not refer simply to the oddities and eccentricities of human behavior, nor to the sometimes astonishing world of natural causes and effects, nor to the surprising acts of coincidence and fate that occasionally appear to be directed by an unseen authority. To understand how magical realism works in fiction, think instead of radios mysteriously broadcasting the intimate conversations of strangers.