FICTION

Fiction students study with award-winning writer and core faculty, Lysley Tenorio, as well as Visiting Writers in Residence. They also have the opportunites to meet with editors and agents.

The SMC MFA program welcomes all writers and genres of writing. We embrace aesthetic diversity and believe our program is made stronger by its inclusion of all peoples. If you are applying from outside of the United States, visit our International Writers page. 
 

2017-2018 VISITING FICTION FACULTY

Natalie Baszile (Workshop & Tutorial) and Shanthi Sekaran (Craft of Fiction)
 

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS & SAMPLE SYLLABI

Workshop:

This course is an intensive exploration of the ideas, techniques and forms of fiction with a primary emphasis on the careful analysis and discussion of student works-in-progress. Students will grapple with the questions of voice, point of view, dramatic movement, structure, rhythm, and imagery, as well as with any and all issues of art and craft that arise from the individual manuscripts. By the end of the course, the students should develop the terminology and the critical skills for revising fiction, and should develop a good understanding about issues and trends in the genre.

Learning Outcomes
Students will:

  • produce a significant amount of original work;
  • learn through the practice of reading, annotating, and discussing the work of their peers;
  • develop the vocabulary and critical skills necessary for revising fiction.

 

Tutorial:

Students will meet over the course of the semester at mutually agreed upon times with the instructor of the workshop for individual sessions to review strengths and areas for revision of manuscripts. The instructor will suggest additional reading, ideas for revision, writing exercises, and specific areas where a student might improve his or her craft.

Learning Outcomes
Students will:

  • move toward a sophisticated knowledge of revision and the craft of fiction applicable to the participation in workshop;

  • gain a greater understanding of their own strengths and areas for improvement;

  • receive advice and instruction on the professional aspects of publishing.

 

Contemporary Fiction:

A careful study of a range of important works by contemporary writers of novels and short stories with attention to thematic and formal analysis. Writers to be studied may include Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood, Michael Cunningham, Don DeLillo, Nadine Gordimer, Louise Erdrich, Carole Maso, Toni Morrison, Alice Munro, Joyce Carol Oates, and John Edgar Wideman.

Learning Outcomes
Students will:

  • learn to read as writers, analyzing the variety of ways contemporary authors employ narrative technique;

  • research the lives and careers of these authors, with attention to the critical reception of works studied in the course;
  • connect contemporary trends with earlier fiction, particularly of the modern period;
  • relate contemporary fiction to its professional context, attending to publishing markets and other trends in the field.
     

Craft Courses:

These courses focus on issues that influence the writing of fiction. Some seminars may focus on issues of craft or aesthetics—narrative structure in the novel, point of view, or dialogue—and others may be thematic in nature—historical fiction, realism, or the postmodern ethos.  Readings may include a wide range fiction from diverse backgrounds and historical periods as well as the students' own works-in-progress.

Learning Outcomes
Students will: 

  • read fiction with attention to the particular craft in question;
  • create original fiction within the described parameters of the seminar, using the seminar’s theme as a means for practice and experimentation;
  • relate the particular theme/craft of the seminar to their own work and to the practice of writing fiction in our time.

Students may:

  • read secondary texts or texts outside of the genre (e.g., texts in poetry, literary theory, history, or philosophy);
  • workshop and/or share original work in class.