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Instructor Course Descriptions - Tony D'Souza

Fiction Writing Workshop

The blank page...what can be more terrifying for a writer? We all know the feeling of starting something new, of not knowing exactly where it is going to go. Isn't it nice to remember that every great work of literature began that same way?

In this workshop-driven fiction writing course, we will discuss process, technique tips, and share with one another what we do when we're staring at a blank page. Then we'll give each other feedback once we've begun to fill a few of them. This course is open to all styles of fiction, from literary, to speculative, to fast-paced genre. We'll read great short stories from Rick Moody, Vladimir Nabokov, Zora Neale Hurston and others. Ultimately, we want to show our fiction to the world and will work on writing query letters and figure out how to pitch to agents. It all starts the same way, so let's begin.

Adv Focused Fiction Workshop

What part of the literary family tree do you belong to? By exploring a wide range of writers and styles from the minimalist Ray Carver to the fantastical Italo Calvino, we'll develop a stronger foundation in the canon we all spring from, while cultivating our own writing through intensive workshops. The fictional line may have the longest learning curve of all the literary arts, especially for the beginning novelist. This course will emphasize the art of writer's discipline and offer tips on creating the routine and creative workspace a writer needs to run the marathon of writing a great book. Character, tone, and gravitas will all be discussed in relation to our work and final projects will include an exploration of the contemporary publishing marketplace and just how one goes about submitting work and seeing our names in real print.

Literary Novel: Contemporary Fiction

This literature course explores the literary novel, including narrative arc, theme, character, style, and point of view. Critical discussion will focus on the way each component is employed. Students will analyze works from both a literary analysis perspective and a writer’s perspective.

We'll be looking at a really exciting list of novels from the past 20 years, including two titles released just this past year. All of the novels for this course will be two hundred pages or less, something of a trend in contemporary publishing: Justin Torres' We The Animals, for example, clocks in at just 140 pages, but took the literary world by storm, won a slew of prizes and more than a little fame for the previously unknown Torres, and was a celebration of language and story in a relatively short novel-style. NY editors have told me that the shorter novel form has attracted attention in recent years because of changing tastes among readers and the wild success of some of these books. Paulo Coehlo's The Alchemist has sold tens of million copies and is considered a modern masterpiece.

This manageable length will also allow us to experience a wide range of authors even in the short quarter system. We'll be traversing cultures, genders and voices. Authors on the course list include Jamaica Kincaid, Faiza Guene, and one of the "hottest" novels of the past year, Karolina Waclawiak's How to Get Into the Twin Palms.

Narrative Journalism

Narrative journalism is the art of telling a true story, weaving research and facts into an engaging, page-turning piece of non-fiction that reads with energy, insight and depth. Readers love non-fiction as a means to better understand the world and people different from them. The task of the narrative journalist is to paint accurate and vivid portraits of people and subjects even the journalist, at the beginning of the writing, may know little about.

Media is changing quickly with many new online platforms for publishing narrative journalism; in fact, narrative journalism may be enjoying is most vibrant period ever. We will look at a diverse sampling of long narrative non-fiction pieces from some of the leading outlets today, including The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Harper's, and Vanity Fair. We'll discuss how to achieve the 'holy grail' of the narrative journalist — writing a piece with "three-dimensionality" — as well as investigate how to balance primary and secondary sources, dialogue, interviews, and hard facts with the demands of story-telling. Students will have free range to investigate whatever subjects are dear to their own hearts while building strong foundations as narrative journalists in this field of writing where publishers are actively looking for new writers and content.

We’ll not only explore non-fiction writing and publishing for today’s world, but also ethics, craft, the submissions process and the social importance of it all. The ability to write narrative journalism greatly diversifies a writer's range and ability to answer the question, "How do I tell this true tale in a way that always brings the reader along?"

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