English 141

Modes of Writing (Exposition, Fiction, Verse, etc.): Writing Fiction Across Genres

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2015 Tranter, Kirsten
MWF 1-2 20 Wheeler

Book List

Austen, Jane: Pride and Prejudice; Chandler, Raymond: The Big Sleep; French, Tana: In The Woods; Miéville, China: The City and The City

Other Readings and Media

A course reader including short stories, extracts and essays will be available before the start of classes.

The required texts for this course will be available at University Press Books, located on Bancroft Way (a little west of Telegraph Avenue).


This course will explore modes of creative writing in several distinct contemporary genres of fiction: crime, fantasy & SF, and romance, with the goal of learning to engage creatively with key conventions that define each genre, while developing foundational aspects of craft such as voice, characterization, dialogue, setting, conflict and plot. The division of literature into different kinds of writing is an ancient practice, yet genre conventions are not fixed and immutable rules or distinctions. Students should be prepared to read widely, with a view to exploring how authors approach genre as a set of protocols that invite engagement in creative, playful, and critical ways, from influential classics to contemporary experiments with genre boundaries. We will aim to develop a critical perspective on the place of genre fiction in general, and these genres in particular, in contemporary literary culture. Students will produce their own creative writing in different genres through regular short exercises, and will share and discuss their writing in small groups, developing tools for editing and revision. In addition to a final short story, assignments will include providing feedback on other students’ work, including one formal response paper.

This course is open to English majors only.

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