Whether fiction or memoir or something in between, many powerful works of literature are structured in a fractured, fragmented, nonlinear style. In this course, we will experiment with forms, styles, approaches to time and structure, point of view, and character, to tell (and retell) a story. Through in-class writing prompts, we will construct a series of short pieces all linked around a larger theme or subject. Using models by contemporary fiction and nonfiction writers who compress and fragmentize in the movement towards a larger narrative, we will read and discuss the ways that the gaps, the spaces between text, might propel narrative, expand character, and create a world.
Suzanne Scanlon is the author of the novel Promising Young Women (2013) as well as Her 37th Year, An Index, which was chosen by Allan Gurganus for The Iowa Review fiction prize. Her fiction has appeared in many journals, including Bomb Magazine, The Iowa Review, The American Scholar, and DIAGRAM, and she writes about theater for the Chicago Reader and Time Out Chicago. She is a professor of creative writing at Columbia College Chicago, and was recently a Visiting Writer in Roosevelt University’s M.F.A. program.