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11 May 2009 @ 03:14 pm
The ball doesn't officially drop on this pumpkin for another couple weeks, but this thing has max, like, three readers at this point, and I've got 45 minutes to kill at work (and this beats real, actual, correspondance with people).

I'm in the process of filling out the syllabus for a Short Story writing class I'm going to teach, in conjunction with Zak-co Enterprises.

So far I know what I want to do, in that it's very similar to how short story classes are run in universities, like that big one in the middle of Seattle that I went to. You read some short stories and you cover the basic construction of Short Storyism. Theme and Plot and Setting and Characters and Style and whathaveyou.

The main difference being, this class will be taught by someone who's never officially been paid for his writing. Details ... details ...

I'm trying to make it Not Suck. Students will be encouraged to think on their own as opposed to having everything spelled out. And we'll emphasize brutal honesty, mainly by the class being completed entirely through the Internet, so if someone's feelings get hurt by someone else's story critique, they'll just have to deal with it on their own, rather than face embarassment in front of a full classroom.

Also, by and large, the stories will be Steven A. Taylor approved. Bukowski, Vonnegut, Dennis Johnson, David Sedaris, George Saunders, Chekhov, Carver. I was going to throw in something by David Foster Wallace, but that would've required me to repurchase a book I'd once given away. That I will not do. But, as you can see, we've got plenty of contemporary authors (or fairly contemporary - I'd say anything that's come out in the last 60 years is pretty contemporary). Twain and Hemmingway and Melville are great and all, but let's face it, by the time you've finished high school you've had it up to your asshole in 19th century literature. Let's embrace the 20th!

So, yeah, that's what I'm up to at the moment. I'm in the process of nailing down the required reading. The rest is gravy.