September 5 - October 13
Besides being a brilliant writer, Flannery O'Connor wrote quite a bit about the craft of writing. In this six-week course, we will look at O'Connor's essays about writing in Mystery and Manners, examine ways that she implemented her principles in her short stories, and implement those principles ourselves in short writing exercises.
My goal as instructor will not be to get you to mimic O'Connor, but to help you find your own voice--to help you write in your native tongue, just as O'Connor wrote in hers. Though O'Connor's wrote more or less exclusively about fiction, most of her principles are equally applicable to non-fiction narratives.
Typical weekly workload
- Reading: One essay and one story from O'Connor (there will also be optional readings)
- Writing: 2-3 pages
- Listening: 20-30 minute lecture
- Online Discussion: I will post several discussion questions each week. Hopefully they will lead to fruitful discussion in which you can participate as time allows.
I will provide detailed feedback on your writing every week. That back-and-forth is really the heart of the course.
- Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners
- Flannery O'Connor, Complete Stories
Week 1: The Nature of Narrative
Essay--"Writing Short Stories"
Short Story--"The Life You Save May Be Your Own"
Week 2: Native Country, Native Tongue
Essay--"The Fiction Writer and His Country"
Week 3: Using Metaphor and Symbol
Essay--"The Nature and Aim of Fiction"
Short Story--"Good Country People"
Week 4: Unexpected but Believable
Essay--"Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Fiction"
Short Story--"A Good Man Is Hard to Find"
Week 5: Mystery and Manners
Essay--"Novelist and Believer"
Short Story--"A Temple of the Holy Ghost"
Week 6: Fiction and Faith
Essay--"The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South"
Short Story--"The River"