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Hello Writers! Wow, it is Week 4 and we are about to race through our THIRD lear

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Hello Writers!
Wow, it is Week 4 and we are about to race through our THIRD learning genre: FICTION WRITING
Everything that you’ve already learned and practiced applies to the genre (except for line breaks), so you have a running start. However, since Fiction Writing centers around storytelling and its essential elements: Character, Plot, Conflict, Setting & Tension – so your reading this week will seek to deepen your understanding of these writing elements.
There will be no creative writing exercises this week! However, you have a heavy reading load. Please leave at least 2 sittings of homework to complete the reading. (Then you’ll launch into trying your hand at a short story of your own!)
But PLEASE (please PLEASE) do all the reading carefully! There’s so much instruction here to prepare you. Please take careful notes of key concepts and the tips the author’s offer for how to use them. You’ll practice each of these in your short story writing.
ONE: TEXTBOOK CHAPTERS TO READ: FICTION ELEMENTS
Serious Daring_Fiction Introduction.pdf
Serious Daring_Setting.pdf
Serious Daring_Character.pdf
Serious Daring_Plot.pdf
All of these “” will be in the files “”
TWO: EXAMPLE SHORT STORIES TO READ FOR THE UPCOMING PROMPT
Please attentively read the two example short stories for your fiction prompt, then answer a few analysis questions about one of the stories. From there, I’ll give you the prompt for your short story. We will be working in the genre of “literary fiction” with a “magical realism” element. These stories will have elements of social engagement, so if there’s some “world problems” or social issue that you want to solve, this might be an avenue for that exploration.
Please, please, please do not skip the assignment below. If you do not thoroughly understand the fiction short story that is your model for writing, then you will really struggle to write toward the assignment you’re being given. It will be worth it to put in the work.
READING & QUESTIONS
In FICTION WRITING, there’s all sorts of sub genres you can write in: the novel, novella, short story, flash fiction. And of course, there’s sub genres to those sub genres: literary fiction, magical realism, crime, romance, the western, auto-fiction, etc.
For our course, you will center your learning around the short story form in literary fiction with an element of magical realism. Since our learning time is so brief, I will provide you with two short stories that illustrate literary fiction with small examples of magical realism. One of those model stories will become inspiration for your writing prompt. So when you’re stuck in the writing process, just go back to the model. What choices did she make? What ideas do her choices inspire in you?
What is literary fiction? Check this out!
What is magical realism? Glad you asked. Check this out!
Both literary fiction and magical realism deal with real life situations and real life people in serious or mundane settings. Both are interested in social issues, such as freedom, equality, independence, belonging, etc. – So this “real life” emphasis is your guide, even as you consider the “why” of employing an element of magical realism.
READINGS AND QUESTIONS
Please read each of these (ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE AND WONDERFUL!) short stories below. Each are literary fiction stories that employ an element of magical realism. For the second story, please be sure to engage with the questions listed below.
Story One: “Rock Jenny” by Callum Angus – Rock Jenny – The Seventh Wave
(if you know absolutely nothing about the non-binary or trans experience, feel free to engage in some side-reading to support your understanding!)
Story Two: adrienne marie brown “The River”: adrienne marie brown_the river_fiction.pdf “” will be in the files “”
Actions
Please read the story a couple times, noting things like
a) how the author uses plot and conflict to develop something new about the main protagonist, and
b) how the story considers (at least) two kinds of conflict: protagonist conflict and contextual “society” conflict. Lastly, notice
c) how “third person perspective” is being used as you read. You’ll be trying third person for your own story!
ANALYSIS QUESTIONS This is what you should answer!
1. Describe how the story’s first sentence is a provocative HOOK for the story in 2-3 sentences. In addition, how do the story’s first few paragraphs introduce conflict and tension?
2. The key to LITERARY FICTION is character development. We need to have a clear understanding of who our protagonist is. Some of that is learned through interactions with other characters or through how they respond during action, while some of it is learned through BACKSTORY. In the early pages of the story, what do we learn about our protagonist from BACKSTORY? In addition, analyze what we learn about SETTING while we also learn about our protagonist?
3. In the early pages of the story, please describe what oppression means and what liberation means for our protagonist?
(hint: are you seeing a parallel between the protagonist and the setting in terms of the themes of liberation and oppression?)
4. Short stories use classic story telling techniques, including RISING ACTION toward a CLIMAX. After the climax will be a brief RESOLUTION. In this short story, the “danger” of the river is the primary RISING ACTION. Scan the story again and collect each example of a danger or incident of death related to the water. Then describe how you see these examples “rising” in action and tension.
5. Section 3 contains the climax of this story, as well as the longest SCENE. The element of MAGICAL REALISM is also revealed in this section, as well as the “change” in our protagonist. Please identify the story’s climactic moment, then describe the element of magical realism. Lastly, see if you can identify the “change” in our protagonist’s character. You are looking for some new aspect in her that we didn’t know or see before. Her “change” is likely related to the story’s themes of oppression and liberation.
6. “The River” is very unique in that the water acts as a sort of character: it’s an antagonist, just as the mayor is, and acts as the changing force in the story. In a paragraph or two, please describe how the river represents both oppression and liberation for Detroit and its people.
Thanks for your hard work!

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