We’ve all read or watched something that made us laugh, but have you ever stopped and wondered: how’d the writer do that? What makes something funny? And how can you learn from what you find funny to cultivate your own sense of humor and write funny yourself?
In this course we explore various modes of the comic (such as humor, satire, and parody). Readings will include comedic short stories, interviews with comedy writers, short pieces from The New Yorker and The Onion, and sitcom scripts. You will also try your own hand at “writing funny” with short assignments, one longer piece to be workshopped, and a new media final project.
Form & Theory of Writing (Fiction)
In this course, students learn to "read like a writer" by examining the artistic choices made by an author with regard to character, conflict, plot, scene and dialogue, setting, point of view, etc.
In particular, we examine the techniques and constraints that create forms and genres by reading craft essays in the Tin House series. Students also examine what happens when those forms and genres are broken or challenged and then create new stories (and a craft essay of their own) informed by what they’ve learned.
What is a Text?: The Postmodern Novel
No, really, what is a text? And, more specifically, what is a novel? In this course, we closely examine a variety of texts (with an emphasis on the postmodern novel) in order to consider how the material elements of a text (and thus the form) affect the way we read—our experience of the text—and also inform (or alter) the content.
American Literature Since 1875: The Great American Novel
Broadly defined, the Great American Novel is a novel written by an American author that captures some unique aspect of American experience, culture, and/or identity.
Because this is an oversimplification of a complex body of literary work, this course questions the notion—what do we mean by “great” or “American” or even “novel”? We also attempt to answer: how has the GAN evolved over the last century and, in turn, our concept of what it means to be American?
Intro to Fiction: The Time Travel Novel
This course introduces students to the analytical study of fiction through the reading of six novels—all of which feature the use of time travel. In particular, we examine how each author employs time travel in a unique way to tackle themes of technology, class, war, race, love, family, or identity… but also to tell a damn good story.
Time turners ready?
This course is for students interested in writing fiction, specifically the short story. The class is designed to help students improve their fiction by mining stories for techniques (i.e. learning to read as writers), practicing the craft with exercises, and, finally, with workshop and revision.
Article & Essay Technique
Like Fiction Technique, this course is designed to teach writing by mining reading, practicing with exercises, and with workshop and revision—only for nonfiction prose, specifically the personal essay.
Writing About Harry Potter
This composition course teaches students to write analytical essays using their favorite fantasy series—J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter. Students read a series of case studies about the books and draft three essays: a character analysis, research paper, and post-Voldemort interview.
This interview is then adapted into a multimedia presentation using a podcast, video, blog, social media or an original website.