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Home and Away


Creative Writing


Professor Dinah Ryan

Program Summary

Everyone has stories to tell. Each storyteller weaves tales from within a distinctive “home,” making stories from a unique web of experiences, contexts, and influences. Students will begin to discover the cultural forms, geographies, and writers that make up their creative homes, finding their fearless imaginations and distinct voices. As they write fiction, students will explore varied creative approaches to paying attention to the world, as both a familiar and an unfamiliar place. The course will emphasize very short fictional forms: the nano-fiction, the flash fiction, the micro-fiction, the Twitter story, the feuilleton, the list form, the prose poem, and so on. We will read international examples of very short fiction in Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories from Around the World (James Thomas, Robert Shapard, Christopher Merrill, eds.). Using Naming the World and Other Exercises for the Creative Writer (Bret Anthony Johnston, ed.), we will explore the elements of fiction through setting, characterization, image and description, plot, etc. 

ENGL 241: Fiction Writing I
An introduction to the art and craft of fiction writing. Students study the elements of short fiction and apply that study to their own creative writing. A substantial portion of the course is devoted to writers' workshops in which students read and critique each other's short stories. Students also read and write about the work of important contemporary fiction writers in order to discover and understand the ways in which these writers use such elements as pacing, structure, voice, dialogue, character, and scene in their work.

GEN 101 HM: ILC Home and Away (3 SH)
This foundational course serves to develop, practice, and apply college-level reading, critical thinking, writing, information literacy, and speaking skills. As part of each FYE program, this course develops skills through one or two content areas of the specific FYE program. You will complete an annotated bibliography, a written research project, and a presentation.

In the ILC for Home and Away, students will research aspects of their artistic and cultural influences and write a paper in which they analyze and reflect on them. The course will enable students from diverse backgrounds to approach research, critical analysis, close reading, and imaginative artistic production in individualized ways. Creative writers are scholars. They know how to research, closely analyze, write clearly and eloquently, and approach revision or rethinking. In the ILC, students will learn methodologies for these processes.