Storytelling, also known as narrative fiction, is a primary means of human expression. This course offers an introduction to the writing and reading of narrative fiction, from short stories to novels and novellas. As we read and discuss the inner workings and intricacies of stories from around the world (many from countries we will visit) we will also learn to incorporate these literary elements into our own creative writing. Individual classes will consist of discussion of original student work and assigned readings. In our writing we will emphasize both the drafting process and revision, where the real writing begins. Regardless of your own writing experience, our class will be a safe and respectful forum in which we will take all fiction, including yours, seriously.
Field WorkCountry: Turkey
Day: 2 - Wednesday, 30 September
While in Istanbul we will work on two writing projects: first, a story which has at its core some seemingly trivial object, which nevertheless has a profound tale to tell, and second, a dialogue-based story. We will have read portions of Turkish writer Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence, a novel structured around a series of meaningful objects the protagonist enshrines to his beloved. Pamuk created an actual “Museum of Innocence” in Istanbul, which houses a series of everyday objects which are profoundly meaningful for Turkish history and culture. We will visit his museum, and discuss what kinds of objects we might choose to use for our own stories. After lunch, we will travel across the Golden Horn to the Topkapi Palace and tour the Harem rooms, spaces also filled with everyday objects which are now deeply meaningful. After our tour, we will adjourn to the nearby Gulhane Park for an outdoor writing exercise. Academic objectives:
- Explore the Museum of Innocence after having read Pamuk’s novel and experience and consider the ways objects can help us tell fictional stories,
- Experience the Harem rooms in the Topkapi Palace, searching for objects and settings which could become the genesis of a short story
- Engage in a dialogue writing exercise in a public park, working on our observational and imaginative skills.