Module Details

LT908-7-SP-CO: Writing The Novel

Year: 2016/17
Department: Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Essex credit: 20
ECTS credit: 10
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Staff
Supervisor: Matthew De Abaitua
Teaching Staff: Matthew De Abaitua
Contact details: LiFTS General Office - email liftstt@essex.ac.uk Telephone 01206 872626

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

This is a module in which students explore the novel form both through practical writing and the reading and analysis of contemporary novels. Novelistic techniques and subjects such as inspiration, character, narrative, genre and revision will be examined. Each seminar will include a workshop based around student writing, inspired by weekly writing exercises. The final two seminars of the course are entirely given over to workshopping and revising student fiction.

Syllabus

Week 16
Franzen, Jonathan, Freedom, 2010
Franzen, Jonathan, 'Why Bother: The Harper's Essay', How to be Alone, 1996, 2002

Week 17
Offill, Jenny, Department of Speculation, 2014
Extract: Shields, David, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, 2010, Sections 1-71

Week 18
McCarthy, Tom, Remainder, 2005
Kafka, Franz, Metamorphosis, 1916, 1933
Tom McCarthy interview in The Believer http://www.believermag.com/issues/200806/?read=interview_mccarthy

Week 19
McEwan, Ian, On Chesil Beach, 2007
Extract from Updike, John, Couples, 1968, pp.1-22
Wood, James, 'Monica Ali's Novelties' in The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel, 2004

Week 20
Cole, Teju, Open City, 2011
Extract from Bellow, Saul, Seize the Day, 1956

Week 21
Diaz, Junot, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, 2007

Week 22
Smith, Zadie, NW, 2012
Forster, EM, Aspects of the Novel, 1927

Week 23
Anders, Charlie Jane, All the Birds in the Sky, 2016
Matheson, Richard, I am Legend, 1954
Lethem, Jonathan, The Squandered Promise of Science Fiction, Genre and how to break it

Week 24
Editing and revision. Workshopping fiction for half the class.

Week 25
Publishing process. Workshopping fiction for the other half of the class.

Learning and Teaching Methods

Learning and teaching will take place through weekly two-hour seminars, which combine lecture, discussion, individual and group work.

Assessment

100 per cent Coursework Mark

Coursework

The module will be assessed by a 5,000 word fiction submission. This should form 2 to 3 chapters of a novel, and include a 1,000 word commentary or essay on the student's submission that demonstrates awareness of questions of style, form and content within the novel and of contemporary critical perspectives on the novel. The commentary will allow students to link their study of writing techniques to creative practice.

Bibliography

  • Anders, Charlie Jane, All the Birds in the Sky, 2016
  • Bellow, Saul, Seize the Day, 1956
  • Cole, Teju, Open City, 2011
  • Diaz, Junot, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, 2007
  • Forster, EM, Aspects of the Novel, 1927
  • Franzen, Jonathan, Freedom, 2010
  • Franzen, Jonathan, 'Why Bother: The Harper's Essay', How to be Alone, 1996, 2002
  • Kafka, Franz, Metamorphosis, 1916, 1933
  • Lethem, Jonathan, The Squandered Promise of Science Fiction, Genre and how to break it
  • Matheson, Richard, I am Legend, 1954
  • McCarthy, Tom, Remainder, 2005
  • Tom McCarthy interview in The Believer http://www.believermag.com/issues/200806/?read=interview_mccarthy
  • McEwan, Ian, On Chesil Beach, 2007
  • Offill, Jenny, Department of Speculation, 2014
  • Shields, David, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, 2010, Sections 1-71
  • Smith, Zadie, NW, 2012
  • Updike, John, Couples, 1968, pp.1-22
  • Wood, James, 'Monica Ali's Novelties' in The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel, 2004
  • Secondary Reading
  • Amis, Martin, The War Against Cliche: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000 (Jonathan Cape, 2001).
  • Baxter, Charles, Burning Down the House (Graywolf Press, 1997).
  • Bradbury, Ray, Zen in the Art of Writing (Joshua Odell Editions, 1996).
  • Editors of the Paris Review, The Paris Review Interviews vol.1, vol.2, vol.3 (Canongate, 2007).
  • Forster, EM, Aspects of the Novel (Edward Arnold, 1927).
  • Franzen, Jonathan, How to be Alone (Fourth Estate, 2002).
  • Gardner, John, On Becoming a Novelist (Perennial Library, 1983).
  • The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers (Vintage Books, 1991).
  • Kundera, Milan, The Art of the Novel (Grove Press, 1988).
  • Le Guin, Ursula, Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew, (Eighth Mountain Press, 1999)
  • Lodge, David, The Art of Fiction, 1992.
  • Mullan, John, How Novels Work (OUP, 2006).
  • Shields, David, Reality Hunger (Hamish Hamilton, 2010).
  • Thomas, Scarlett, Monkeys with Typewriters: How to Write Fiction and Unlock the Secret Power of Stories, 2012
  • VanderMeer, Jeff, Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, 2013
  • Wood, James, How Fiction Works (Jonathan Cape, 2008).

Further information

External Examiner Information

  • Name: Prof Michael Schmidt
    Institution: The University of Glasgow
    Academic Role: Professor of Poetry