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A List of Upcoming Classes

 

July 4, 2019 - MFA102 Sentence Structures: Propositions, Subtext and Syntax

Course Description: “Proposition” is a familiar term to students of logic or rhetoric. It simply means an expressed thought put forward for the receiver to accept or not accept. Every individual idea, concept, action, emotion, and description we communicate through a sentence is a proposition, a thought represented by a sequence of words. Some sentences have a single proposition, some have many.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Text Provided  

 

 

July 11, 2019 - MFA214 Describing and Withholding

Course Description: One of the most pressing problems in writing has to do with how much information to share in the process of narration. How much do you need to tell the reader to reel him in? How much material should you withhold and why? These questions have to do with the issue of seduction. Aside from their characters, stories have two principal persona--the storyteller and the story hearer--who are engaged in a complicated and very personal relationship. The storyteller's primary job in narration is to exercise power over the story hearer, to make him want to listen. To succeed at controlling the hearer, a storyteller speaker must achieve authority and produce involvement. The challenge is: how do you achieve authority to let the story hearer know that you know what you are saying? At the same time, how do you produce involvement? You don't want it gives so much information that the story hearer becomes alienated or overwhelmed. All writers struggle at some point with the problem of balance between authority and involvement, seduction and revelation. Specifically, beginning writers wonder how much description to employ, and more advanced writers ask how much plot is too much or too little.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text

Creating Fiction: Instructions and Insights from Teachers of the Associated Writing Programs

  

 

July 11, 2019 - MFA158 Flash Fiction - Opening Up Your Writing

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Rose Metal Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field

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July 11, 2019 - MFA054 Flash Nonfiction: Singular Moments - Against the Grain

Course Description: MFA054 is the 5th in a series of flash nonfiction workshops (works under 2,000 words). Each of the series will use The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction. Courses in the series may be taken in any sequence, though reading the text's Introduction is recommended for those who haven't taken MFA50 yet.

Course Length: 5 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction: Advice and Essential Exercises from Respected Writers, Editors, and Teachers

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July 11, 2019 - MFA381: On Metaphor

Course Description: MFA381 is the seventh in a series of 8 prose poetry workshops (poems lengthwise half a page to 3–4 pages). Each of the courses in the series will use The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice. Courses in the series may be taken in any sequence, though reading the text's Introduction is recommended for those who haven't taken MFA375 yet.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Rose Metal Field Guide to Prose Poetry

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July 16, 2019 - L247 Kij Johnson - At the Mouth of the River of Bees

Course Description: Read and discuss "At the Mouth of the River of Bees" by Kij Johnson and write an original flash fiction story.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories

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July 18, 2019 - MFA103 Creativity and the Cumulative Sentence

Course Description: The basic unit of thought is the sentence, and from these grow the paragraph, the short story, and the novel.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Provided

 

 

July 25, 2019 - MFA404 Writing for Online and Print Markets

Course Description: MFA404 teaches the craft and conventions of contemporary journalism. Students will draft, revise and workshop an article, a feature story, an opinion article, and a blog post. 

Course Length: 16 Week

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Complete Guide to Article Writing: How to Write Successful Articles for Online and Print Markets

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July 25, 2019 - MFA215 Inflection, Tone and Pitch

Course Description: You get involved in a story when, among other reasons, you get attached to a set of narrated events, or when the tone of the narrative has so many signs of emphasis that it rouses itself to life and disbelief is suspended. The story starts to believe in itself. You also acquired a sensation that somebody has believed the story. That's called conviction, and it may be pleasant or unpleasant.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text

Creating Fiction: Instructions and Insights from Teachers of the Associated Writing Programs

 

 

July 25, 2019 - MFA159 Flash Fiction - Smart Surprise

Course Description: Smart Surprise in Flash Fiction.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Rose Metal Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field

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July 25, 2019 - MFA382: On Experiment

Course Description: MFA382 is the eighth in a series of 8 prose poetry workshops (poems lengthwise half a page to 3–4 pages). Each of the courses in the series will use The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice. Courses in the series may be taken in any sequence, though reading the text's Introduction is recommended for those who haven't taken MFA375 yet.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Rose Metal Field Guide to Prose Poetry

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Print 

 

 

 

July 29, 2019 - MFA755 Writing Linked Short Stories or the Novel-in-Stories Part 1

Course Description: This is the first in a two-part series of courses on writing linked stories, the novel-in-stories, or short story cycles. This is an advanced course. You should already know how to write a short story and have a few under your belt.  This is NOT a course on traditional novel writing.

Course Length: 8 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 5

Required Text: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

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August 1, 2019 - MFA105 Sentences: Tough, Sweet, and Stuffy

Course Description: When we first meet someone in person, we make judgments, and this is equally true when a reader reads an author. If the reader doesn't know the author or is unfamiliar with past works, a judgment is made, not of the real author, but an assumed author. The reader either accepts or rejects the author's imagined persona with line-by-line interaction. The reader also needs to know who they are supposed to be -- who the author has in mind to play the role of reader in the text (see Reader As Fiction and Walter Ong's essay). Readers need to know they are in good hands. This is the underlying theme of Walker Gibson's "Tough, Sweet and Stuffy" essay, the one Brooks Landon often refers to in his lectures, though barely scratches the surface of what it covers.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Provided

 

 

 

August 1, 2019 - MFA351: Art and Craft of Revision

Course Description: Poetry is communication. This course focuses on revising previous poems so they can better reach other people and touch their hearts.

Course Length: 8 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Poetry Home Repair Manual by Ted Kooser

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August 6, 2019 - L249 Louisa May Alcott Short Story

Course Description: Students participate in selected readings and write a short response essay.

Course Length: 1 Week

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Provided

 

 

August 8, 2019 - MFA160 Flash Fiction - Making Flash Count

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Rose Metal Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field

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August 15, 2019 - MFA505 The Homage or Tribute Story

Course Description: This is the third course in the Reading for Craft series in which students study short stories of literary quality to learn craft and apply what they learn to their own writing.  In this course, we will study short stories by Raymond Carver, Nathan Englander, John Cheever, and Richard Ford and take a stab at writing our own homage or tribute story.

Course Length: 3 Weeks

Course Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Provided

 

 

August 15, 2019 - MFA216 Voice and Style

Course Description:    Some of the mystifications of voice include things like: voice is something to be found, that it is located somewhere off the page, that some authors or stories have more of it, that it can be borrowed and not returned, that it never changes, that it has to do with sincerity, that it is about expression, or that the author can be found in it. As these imply, there it is inside and outside to the notion: there is the voice of the individual piece of fiction, and there is what we call an author's voice.

Style is the way the words take on an identity on the page. It is a kind of ownership agreement, in which any given writer lays claim, with his or her own identity, to an arrangement of words turned into self-revealing lines, turned into a work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Just as importantly, however much style can be defined by a nuts-and-bolts examination of words, sentence structure, or sentence arrangement, style is also mysteriously yours alone, inscribed with your unique vision of a sunset, a drive to the southwest, a journey into the interior world of a character.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text

Creating Fiction: Instructions and Insights from Teachers of the Associated Writing Programs

 

 

August 20, 2019 - L240 Susan Glaspell Short Story 

Course Description: “A JURY OF HER PEERS” Students participate in selected readings and write a short response essay.

Course Length: 1 Week

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Provided

 

 

August 22, 2019 MFA161 Flash Fiction - Using Images for Inspiration

Course Description: Flash Fiction - Forty Stories in the Desert (Using Images for Inspiration)

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Rose Metal Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field

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August 29, 2019 - MFA250 How to Hook the Reader 

Course Description:     Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution. It enabled us to image what might happen in the future and prepare for it. Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience reveal our brain is hardwired to respond to story. Given a choice, people prefer fiction to nonfiction.

Our neural circuitry is designed to crave story. This information is a game changer for writers. Research has helped decode the secret blueprint for story that's hardwired in the reader's brain. But there's a catch. For a story to captivate a reader, it must continually meet his or her hardwired expectations. There is an implicit framework that must underlie a story in order for that passion, that fire, to ignite the reader's brain. Stories without it go unread.

A recent brain-imaging study reported in Psychological Science reveals that the regions of the brain that process the sights, sounds, tastes, and movement of real life are activated when we're engrossed in a compelling narrative. Such a story is an intricate mesh of interconnected elements which hold it together and allow it to build.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Wired for Story by Lisa Cron (This is the 1st of 12 independent MFA courses using Wired for Story).

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August 29, 2019 - MFA217 Magical Realism, Rules and How to Break Them 

Course Description: In magical realism, extraordinary things are presented as though they are perfectly ordinary. Magical realism does not refer simply to the oddities and eccentricities of human behavior, nor to the sometimes astonishing world of nature causes and effects, nor to the surprising acts of coincidence and fate that occasionally appear to be directed by an unseen authority. To understand how magical realism works in fiction, think instead of radios mysteriously broadcasting the intimate conversations of strangers.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text

Creating Fiction: Instructions and Insights from Teachers of the Associated Writing Programs

 

 

September 3, 2019L241 Willa Cather Short Story

Course Description: Students participate in selected readings and write a short response essay.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Provided

 

 

September 5, 2019 - MFA162 Flash Fiction - Staying True to the Image 

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Rose Metal Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field

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September 5, 2019The Gentle Art of the Personal Essay

Course Description: This introductory course is designed for bloggers, essayists and nonfiction writers, though fiction writers and poets will find the content and exercises both useful and inspirational. MFA01 is first of the MFA Nonfiction Series. Courses may be taken in any sequence. We recommend taking MFA01 first, either with a scheduled class or by independent study.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Crafting the Personal Essay by Dinty W. Moore

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September 5, 2019 - MFA355: Verse Forms 

Course Description: MFA355, Verse Forms, is the first in a series of 2 courses that introduces traditional poetic forms. This course includes the Stanza and Meter, the Villanelle, Sestina, Pantoum, Sonnet, and Ballad, and a two-week workshop. Each week focuses on one form and includes reading its history and its contemporary context, a "close-up" of an individual poet. The writing assignment is to write one poem using its formal characteristics.

Course Length: 8 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms

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Required ReadingWhy Write in Form? By Rebecca Hazelton 

 

 

September 9, 2019 - MFA801 Six Memos for the Next Millennium Workshop 

Course Description: Students discuss, write about and experiment with Calvino's concepts in Six Memos for the Next Millennium

  • Week 1: Lightness - Discussion and 300-500 word creative exercise.
  • Week 2: Quickness - Discussion and 300-500 word response to chapter.
  • Week 3: Exactitude - Discussion and 300-500 word creative exercise.
  • Week 4: Visibility - Discussion and 300-500 word response to chapter.
  • Week 5: Multiplicity - Discussion and 300-500 word creative exercise.
  • Week 6: Review: Summarize key points (500-700 word essay)
  • Week 7-8: Workshop (students may choose to write an essay or short story for their writing project)

Course Length: 8 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 5

Required Text Six Memos for the Next Millenium - Italo Calvino Harvard Lectures

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September 10, 2019 - L305 Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe

Course Description: Students read Achebe's Things Fall Apart, participate in weekly topic discussions, and write a short response paper.

Course Length: 4 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

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September 12, 2019MFA251 Story Focus

Course Description: Learn about Story Focus and its three elements: Protagonist Goal, Theme and Plot.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Wired for Story by Lisa Cron (This is the 2nd of 12 independent MFA courses using Wired for Story).

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September 12, 2019MFA218 Adding Humor to Fiction

Course Description: Contemporary writers too often forget that one sure way to make your fiction more appealing is to add a carefully calculated dose of humor. Carefully calculated is important. Humor does sell fiction, but only when it is used sparingly.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text Creating Fiction: Instructions and Insights from Teachers of the Associated Writing Programs  

 

 

September 17, 2019 - L252 Katherine Mansfield Short Story 

Course Description: Students participate in selected readings and write a short response essay.

Course Length: 1 Week

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Provided 

  

 

September 19, 2019 - MFA163 Flash Fiction - Meta-Narrative 

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Rose Metal Course Description: Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction: Tips from Editors, Teachers, and Writers in the Field

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September 19, 2019 - MFA02 The  Personal (Not Private) Essay 

Course Description: Recommended for bloggers, essayists and nonfiction writers. This workshop is part of the MFA Nonfiction Series. Courses may be taken in any sequence, though we recommend taking MFA01 first, either with a scheduled class or by independent study.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Crafting the Personal Essay by Dinty W. Moore

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September 26, 2019 - MFA252 Emotions and POV  

Course Description:  Explore the relationships between POV, emotions and body language.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: Wired for Story by Lisa Cron (This is the 3rd of 12 independent MFA courses using Wired for Story).

Kindle 

Print 

 

 

September 26, 2019 - MFA219: The Purpose and Practice of Revision 

Course Description: While writers most often think they are writing their work--that is, that they have a thought or two they are putting down on paper, and that they are directing these thoughts from beginning to end to communicate something already present in their minds to the reader--writing is more complex than that. Revision has everything to do with learning both what you are writing and how to write it.

Course Length: 2 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text

Creating Fiction: Instructions and Insights from Teachers of the Associated Writing Programs

 

 

September 26, 2019 - MFA352: On Poetry and Writing 

Prerequisites: MFA350 and MFA351 and/or several core or foundation poetry courses

Course Description: Playful and profound insights into the mysteries of literary creation. Discover a balance between writing mundane or perplexing poetry. Fiction and nonfiction writers will also find useful tools. Includes a two-week workshop.

Course Length: 8 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 3

Required Text: The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo

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September 30, 2019 - MFA756: Linked Short Stories or the Novel-in-Stories Workshop 

CORE COURSE PREREQUISITE: You must have completed MFA755 Writing Linked Short Stories or the Novel in Stories Part 1 to take this workshop.

    

Course Description: This is the second in a two-part series of courses on writing linked stories, the novel-in-stories, or short story cycles. You must have two linked short stories written by the first day of class.

Each week we will examine two linked stories by a member of the class and give feedback on linkages between the two stories as well as regular feedback.

Course Length: 8 Weeks

Difficulty (1-5): 5

Required Text: No Texts Required (Workshop)