Undergraduate Courses

CRW 3410
Dramatic Technique
S. E. Gontarski sgontarski@fsu.edu

This class is a workshop that features reading, writing and performing the short, quick-punch format called the 10 minute play.

Microsoft Word furnishes a free play script template that’s very useful, but students can use whatever format they feel most comfortable with.


We will read professional examples from:

Sam Shepard. Fifteen One-Act Plays (Vintage Contemporaries). New York: Vintage Press. ISBN-13: 978-0345802767

Tennessee Williams: One Act Plays (World Classics). London: Methuen Classics. ISBN-13: 978-1408164815

Samuel Beckett, The Collected Shorter Plays. New York: Grove Press, 2010 [1986]. ISBN-13: 978-0802144386

See also: http://www.theatrehistory.com/plays/10minute.html

CRW 4120
Fiction Workshop
Mark Winegardner WMS 418 winegardner@fsu.edu

In this nurturing, rigorous fiction workshop, the primary objective will be the creation and revision of competent apprentice-level literary short fiction. This course will make you a better writer—and a better reader—in a supportive, tough-love environment in which you're free to fail. You'll learn how to embrace the positive, liberating value of the kind of failure that's crucial to any true artist's apprenticeship.

At this stage in your apprenticeship, the number of technical skills you need to recognize and master is daunting. But we'll prioritize four bedrock fundamentals that you can think of the way a wannabe handyman might regard a hammer, saw, screwdriver, and wrench: basic stuff, but if you can't use them well, you can't do much of anything. 1. What's really meant by the oversimplified advice "show, don't tell." 2. Acute tension and chronic tension (what that means, how nearly all stories are an interplay between those two elements, and how those elements are created from the very opening of the story). 3. Basic short-story structure, with a particular emphasis on openings. 4. Basic narrative shapes.

"A writer," said Saul Bellow, "is a reader moved to emulation." "I know of no good, ignorant writers," wrote Richard Wilbur. "I think of great stories and novels," said Charles Baxter, "as permission-givers." This course will develop your writing in tandem with your reading, to eradicate ignorance, receive permission, and be moved to great heights of emulation. The strangeness of individual talent will not, I guarantee you, be blunted by such things. Quite the contrary.

For admission, students must have completed Fiction Technique with a B or higher.

LIT 4184
Literature and Nationalism in Postcolonial Ireland: Who Speaks for Ireland?
S. E. Gontarski sgontarski@fsu.edu

The Irish writer, Samuel Beckett, liked to tell the story in which the nations of the world are asked to write an essay on “The Camel.” The Frenchman’s was called “The Camel and Love”; the German’s was “The Camel and Metaphysics”: the Irishman’s “The Camel and the fight for Irish Freedom.” Such then is the nature of the Irish ethos and sensibility, the Irish preoccupation if not obsession for some 700 years. The purpose of this course is to examine the Irish quest for independence in a literary context and concurrently to examine Post-colonial Irish literature (that is, after the winning of independence in 1921 and ratifying a Free State in 1922) in its broader cultural context. We will study several dominant figures in modern (that is essentially twentieth century, although in Ireland the past always weighs heavy on the present) Irish literature, particularly William Butler Yeats, James Joyce, and Sean O’Casey, as they develop in, struggle with, and develop beyond an Anglo-Irish literary heritage, and the conflicts of subsequent generations of Irish writers to develop and flourish in their shadows. We will also examine the shift into more popular forms of culture like Irish film and music.

One basic question we will examine in this struggle (and the subsequent struggle to overcome the obsession with the struggle) is who speaks for Ireland, whose voice is that of the Irish? What writers, which politicians, what group speaks for Ireland? And on whose authority? We need to keep in mind as well that Ireland is still, after more than eighty years of independence, still a work in progress, a nation still trying to define what it means to be Irish. Are the Irish those that live within the borders of what is now Ireland, or does one need to have been born there. Is there a religious test to Irishness? And what of the six counties that are part of the island of Ireland but are still under British rule, the territory we call Northern Ireland. Or what of the Irish diaspora, the scattering of the Irish all across the world at least since the mid nineteenth century famine. Are they Irish, or hyphenated Irish: Australian-Irish, Canadian, Irish, Irish-American. In what order should the compound be stated? These are some of the issues we will try to grapple with this term.