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In this class, we’ll read four published novels that take experimental approaches to storytelling. Written lessons will describe what to consider when editing experimental fiction, and we’ll discuss the lessons and the novels in the class forums. You’ll write a total of four revision letters covering developmental problems you noted in the published works, and the instructor will provide feedback on each revision letter.

We’ll talk about what we mean by experimental fiction and how it differs from mainstream works (include breaking novel-writing conventions). We’ll discuss a variety of types of experimental fiction (steam-of-consciousness, epistolary, metafiction, and more). We’ll cover a basic history of the development of experimental fiction. And we’ll dig into how we might effectively edit such manuscripts, balancing both the author’s desired method of expression with the needs of readers.

The novels we’ll be reading (in this order) are:

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

            Discussion begins June 3; assignment is due June 30

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

            Discussion begins July 1; assignment is due July 21

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

            Discussion begins July 22; assignment is due Aug 11

If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

            Discussion begins Aug 12; assignment is due Sep 1

You’ll need to purchase each of the novels we use in the class. The links are affiliate links to Amazon but of course you can purchase from any bookstore.