I’m about to start teaching a fiction writing class at the University of Tennessee. To help me design my syllabus, I emailed my students and asked them a few questions. In particular, I asked what they most wanted to write, and what they liked to read.
(The standard thing in a fiction workshop is to teach and workshop literary-style short stories, and to assign similar readings for study. But I was curious how many students actually wanted to write short fiction.)
Here’s quiz, below. I’m curious: what would your answers be?
Welcome to this class on the writing of fiction.
Before we meet for the first time, I wanted to ask you some questions. Please reply to this email before Monday morning.
Question 1: what do you most want to write?
A. Short stories.
C. Strange hybrid forms that challenge genre boundaries.
D. All of the above / Don’t mind.
Question 2: what do you like to read?
A: Classic fiction / literary fiction.
B: Werewolves, time travel, robots, magic.
C: It’s all about the language. Prose style draws me in.
D: Anything good, really.
Now, if I told you that when the replies from the class came back, and very few students replied with As, do you think I should alter my syllabus to reflect that?