Writing Courses

Pre-Hutchmoot Writing Seminar 2017: Writing with Our Favorite Writers

Date and Time: Thursday, October 5, 9am-2pm

Location: 521 Heather Place, Nashville, TN 37204 (behind Baja Burrito)

Cost: $79 (includes lunch from Baja Burrito)

For this year's pre-Hutchmoot writing seminar, we'll look together at some of the authors most beloved by Rabbit Roomers--including (but not limited to) Pete Peterson, Andrew Peterson, Jennifer Trafton, Doug McKelvey, Walt Wangerin, ND Wilson, Marilynne Robinson, Flannery O'Connor, and Wendell Berry--in order to understand better how their writing does its work on us, and in order to improve our own writing. Several writing exercises throughout the day will solidify the principles we discuss.

The goal of the day is not to become imitators of these authors, but to gain tools that will help us all settle into our own voices with more confidence. This seminar will be helpful for writers of both fiction and non-fiction.

There will be burritos. 

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Writing With Flannery O'Connor: An Online Creative Writing Course

October 9 - November 17 

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. 

Required Texts

  • Flannery O'Connor, Mystery and Manners
  • Flannery O'Connor, Complete Stories

Recommended Text

Syllabus (tentative)

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"

Short Story--"Greenleaf"

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"


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