In this class we’ll explore how to situate literary work within the traditions of genre fiction. While traditional genre fiction follows clear conventions, we’ll look at the elements of genre as tools you can use to enhance your project--learning the rules not to follow, but to break them to greatest effect.
This class is for writers with novel projects that they’re not sure how to categorize, or writers interested in incorporating elements of other genres into their current work. Writers should have some workshop experience, and at least fifteen pages of material and/or a detailed outline of a work-in-progress.
Over the course of the class we’ll read short stories and novel excerpts that defy genre expectations (including work by Daisy Johnson, Italo Calvino, Tana French, and Jo Walton), discuss how and when to break the mold, examine what makes a work “genre bending,” and figure out which genre elements make the most sense for your individual project. Each student will workshop two novel excerpts, and have the chance to submit revisions to discuss during a one-on-one conference with the instructor. Specific writing prompts will not be provided, but each class will focus on concrete strategies that will help writers make progress on their current work. Writers will come away with a bolder understanding of the possibilities of the novel, a more nuanced view of genre conventions, and concrete strategies for adding genre elements to their work.
- A strategic understanding of genre conventions, as well as how and when to break them
- 1 one-on-one conference with instructor
- Peer and instructor feedback on two novel excerpts
Week 0: Introductions, Scheduling
Week 1: Defining Genre/Workshop 1
Week 2: Making Plot from Metaphor/Workshop 2
Week 3: Following the Rules/Workshop 3
Week 4: Breaking the Rules/Workshop 4
Week 5: Talking Revision/Workshop 5
Week 6: Moving Forward/Workshop 6
*no class on February 14th
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