This is a course obviously designed for people who are interested in exploring the art and craft of fiction. A large part of the course will function as a writing workshop in which student work-in-progress will be read and discussed. Critical reading is as important as creative writing in a workshop. Good fiction writers are almost always strong critics. One cannot be a writer without first being a reader. The aim of the workshop discussions is to enable the writers to improve their work with the editorial and critical assistance of the readers. Our goal is to help the novel in question to be the best novel it can be. In addition to the workshop discussions, we'll do writing exercises in class and talk about various narrative techniques, such as plot, characterization, point of view and setting. We'll also be looking at the structure of the novel itself, at what a novel can be and what it ought not to be. We'll discuss the novel as a time machine, clock, and calendar. We'll talk about presentation and trajectory in novel writing. We'll also discuss the practical matters of writing and marketing novels as well as the writing process and the habit of writing.
John Dufresne - photo credit Elizabeth Kortlander
John Dufresne is the author of the novels Louisiana Power & Light, Love Warps the Mind a Little, Deep in the Shade of Paradise, and Requiem, Mass. He's written two story collections, The Way That Water Enters Stone and Johnny Too Bad. He has also written two guides to writing fiction, The Lie That Tells a Truth and his newest book, Is Life Like This? A Guide to Writing Your First Novel in Six Months. He edited Blue Christmas, an anthology of stories. He teaches creative writing at Florida International University in Miami.