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The Shape of the Story: Content into Form

Semester and Year FA 2017
Course Number ELEC-GG2545
Section 001
Instructor Dave King
Days R
Time 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Units 4
Level G


Open to advanced undergraduates with permission of the instructor (


How does the telling transform a story? And how can a story govern its own telling? In this course for writers in all genres, we consider diverse storytelling strategies, looking at fiction, creative nonfiction and narrative poetry, as well as theater and a few short films. Through exercises in both prose and poetry, we explore how a writer imagines a project via formal decisions about voice, genre, point of view, diction, even meter and rhyme. The intent is to move us away from comfort zones, to help us draw invention from the unfamiliar and to broaden our literary and verbal palettes, so students should be prepared to be daring, open-minded and seriously playful. (Please note that while this is not a workshop in the conventional sense, the instructor will be available during office hours to discuss personal creative projects.) Readings will include works by Amy Hempel, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Vikram Seth, Vladimir Nabokov, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, W G Sebald, Nicholson Baker, Robert Frost, David Foster Wallace, Marjane Satrapi, David Shields and others; also films by Su Friedrich, Maya Deren and Kenneth Anger and performance work by Anna Deaveare Smith and Ruth Draper.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Graduate Electives (ELEC-GG)