Introduction to the Writing of Fiction


Writing the Unspeakable

Instructor Amin Ahmad 

As writers of fiction, we try to go beyond the surface and delve deep into uncomfortable emotions: desire, sexuality, loss, belonging, madness, personal and historical trauma. We start with our own raw experiences, but all too often and end up self-censoring or resorting to clichés and conventional narrative strategies. How then do we create fresh works of insight, clarity and narrative power?

In this class we will learn from contemporary writers who have successfully engaged this difficult terrain. Reading like writers, we will take apart published work to learn craft issues like point-of-view, time management, characterization, and dialogue. Since writing the unspeakable depends on creating innovative forms, we will also learn to re-invent classic story structures.

Readings include contemporary writers such as Zadie Smith, Jhumpa Lahiri, Sam Shepard, Haruki Murakami, Lauren Groff, Edward P. Jones, and Justin Torres.

Introductory level genre-specific workshops for students with some experience in creative writing wishing to deepen their knowledge of their chosen genre and gain increased mastery of elements of craft. Recommended for students who have taken English 110.
Collection of emotions image
Curriculum Codes
  • W
  • ALP
Typically Offered
Fall and/or Spring