As paraphrased by W.H. Auden, Paul Valéry once said that a poem is never finished, only abandoned. This is endlessly true of prose, as well. In this class, writers will explore revision strategies to bring fiction closer to the stage at which it might be abandoned. You’ll gain experience in critiquing fiction, both your own and others’, and you’ll read stories by writers including Julio Cortázar, Clarice Lispector, Leonard Michaels, Christine Schutt, and more. Each week, you’ll also write short, generative exercises. Every writer will workshop twice, and we’ll meet once one-on-one over the phone or Skype.
- In-depth peer and instructor critiques on two fiction pieces
- One private conference with the instructor over the phone or Skype to talk about your writing
- Next steps on revising submitted fiction
- New, short first drafts of writing generated by weekly exercises
- Greater familiarity with writers of literary fiction
Week 1: Welcome, introductions, discussion of student writing goals
Week 2: Workshop #1, details, urgency
Week 3: Workshop #2, beginnings, desire
Week 4: Workshop #3, dialogue, point of view
Week 5: Workshop #4, structure, endings
Week 6: Workshop #5, daring, revisions
Week 7: Workshop #6, submitting stories, publication advice
R.O. Kwon’s first novel, The Incendiaries, is forthcoming from Riverhead in the summer of 2018. She is a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow. Her writing has appeared in Noon, The Guardian, Vice, Electric Literature, Playboy, and elsewhere. She has received awards and fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Omi International, and the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony.
"R.O. Kwon is not only a superbly talented writer, but a generous, astute reader of works-in-progress, whatever the genre. She has a special ability to see nuances in language and sentence structure, as well as the larger arc(s) and development of a story. I always greatly value R.O.’s style of feedback, which is sensitive, yet serious and objective. I trust her implicitly with my work, and believe her to be a wonderful teacher, editor, and guide."
"R.O. is one of the best readers I have ever encountered. She is a ferociously intelligent and insightful critic, both kind and utterly committed to helping a writer's work succeed. She has a talent for understanding a story on its own terms and for communicating how its writer can best strengthen it on the level of both line and structure. At the same time, she is unfailingly encouraging. This deep intelligence, combined with a commitment to rigor and to a belief in each writer's potential, make her an outstanding editor. She helped shape my book of stories in ways large and small, and the process was a total pleasure. I can't recommend her class highly enough."
"I can always count on R.O. for an insightful critique. She's a talented and sensitive editor who will help you get at the heart of your story."