Spec Study in Creative Writing
Term: Fall 2021 - Full Term (08/30/2021 - 12/13/2021)
Grade Mode: Letter Grading
Times & Locations
|5:10pm - 8:00pm
Fall 2021 Special Topic & Course Details: Reading as Writers: Exploring the Short Stories of Anton Chekhov & Flannery O’Connor
We’ll begin with Anton Chekhov (1860-1904), a Russian writer who was also a medical doctor, and whose work influenced the short story form as we know it today. As Richard Ford notes: “The reason we like Chekhov so much, now at our century’s end, is because his stories from the last century’s end feel so modern to us, are so much of our time and mind.” The second half of the semester will be devoted to the short stories of Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964), an American, southern writer whose distinct style and unforgettable voice, continues to haunt and intrigue contemporary writers and readers. Besides gaining a strong knowledge of these two authors’ work, artistic intentions, and place in the literary world, we’ll explore a few writers whose work has been influenced by them. In lively discussions, we'll approach these stories as writers examining all the elements of craft, including point of view, dramatic action, the arc of the story, setting, plot, dialogue, character, language, description and theme. We'll ask questions of the stories as a way to understand them fully--to see beyond the obvious. What do we make of these sometimes microscopic and/or concentrated views of life? How do the authors involve us in these brief, often unified episodes? What truths do we glean from these fictional worlds? As we question the author’s intent and choices, we'll also reflect on the choices we make in our own fiction, as well as try our hand at writing short stories, completely unique, but inspired by Chekhov and O’Connor.