WRIT 310: Basic Forms & Techniques in the Novel

Calendar Description:

A lecture course surveying the structural composition and the function of techniques in a representative group of novels and novellas. Emphasis will be placed upon form and voice, as well as upon their relationship with such other elements of narrative as plot, character development, scene development and theme.

Recent Summary:

Purpose - This course will examine basic principles and techniques involved in writing long fiction, primarily the novel. As distinct from that of literary criticism, our approach will emphasize craft, and will be from the point of view of the writer him or herself. That is, as apprentice novelists, we will view a novel not as an autonomous "text" but rather as a series of writer's strategies, and so begin to learn how it's done, with an eye on doing it ourselves.

Approach - The course will involve lecture, class discussion, group discussion, writing exercises, and panel presentations. While I will be presenting-- particularly at the beginning-- various topics for your consideration, for the most part you will be encouraged to "do the work of learning" on your own. That is, you will read, and discuss, and explore the vast world of the contemporary novel, both as an analytical reader and as a beginning writer.

Topics - We will examine the overlapping notions of character, voice, plot, setting, point of view, realism and not-realism, unity, transition, language, scene, pace, and dialogue. With our own writing in mind, we will look at origins of fiction, writing process, and the task of revision.



Course#: WRIT 310
Units: 1.5

Prerequisites: Second-year standing.

Note: Credit will be granted for only one of 310, CW 310.


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