Course Highlight: Online Fiction Writing

Stanford Summer Session is offering English 90v : Fiction Writing (online) for the first time in Summer 2015. Course instructor Shannon Pufahl tells us more about the course.

A note from the instructor

I am excited to offer the first online fiction writing class this summer. The online format highlights some of the most exciting parts of a writing workshop, namely the opportunity to have one’s work critiqued thoughtfully by others, and to develop a vocabulary of craft through that critique. By writing about others’ work, we begin to illumine our own. The kind of concentrated effort required to write well about craft will provide the fuel for our course. The online format is especially well-suited to this, as students can share their thoughts when inspired, and maintain connections with their classmates across geography and time zone, on a well-designed, multi-function course site.

Though the course will be taught entirely online, it will retain the feel of a traditional classroom.  Optional synchronous elements such as discussion and virtual office hours provide the student direct interaction with both the instructor and his/her classmates; the curriculum will also include recorded lectures and online exercises designed to practice technique and to produce sketches and stories. We hope the course will appeal to students who are interested in creative writing but may have limited time in their busy schedules, or those who want to return to campus in Autumn prepared to take on intermediate courses or study other genres in the Creative Writing Program.

About the Instructor

Shannon Pufahl is a PhD candidate in American Literature and Culture at the University of California, Davis.  Her dissertation traces the animal welfare movement in the U.S. from its origins in the 19th-century through the Nature Fakers debate and the young adult animal novels of the early 20th-century.  She was a Stegner Fellow in fiction at Stanford, where she received a Centennial award, the University’s highest honor for teaching assistants. Shannon is a now a Jones Lecturer in the Creative Writing Program, where she teaches fiction and creative nonfiction.  She is at work on a novel set in the American West about three generations of gamblers, and on a memoir about the UC protests, the Occupy Movement, and her own religious education.

Learn at Stanford.

Current Stanford undergraduate and graduate students and visiting students from around the world are invited to experience the University’s fourth academic quarter.

Current Stanford Students

Continue learning throughout the summer. Registration is easy: visit Axess on April 9, 2017 to view courses and sign up. No separate application is required.

Visiting Domestic Students (U.S.)

Undergraduate and graduate students from around the world are invited to apply. Enjoy challenging academics, explore the Bay Area, and engage with top academics and industry leaders.

Visiting International Students

Students from six continents make our summer program truly international. We encourage all interested international students to apply.

International Honors Program (IHP) Students

Students from select universities around the world come to the Stanford campus to experience a transformative and global academic adventure.

Summer Online Students

Introducing Stanford Summer Online – experience a Stanford education anywhere in the world.

High School Students

Stanford High School Summer College (HSSC) is where exceptional students take Stanford undergraduate courses and earn college credit during the summer quarter.

Summer Courses

Over 170 courses are offered in 40 departments within the schools of Humanities and Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering.

@StanfordSS

Meeting Peers and Facing Fears

My first week has been a fantastic mix of making friends, finding my classes and making sense of this enormous campus. So far, Technology Entrepreneurship is turning out to be one of the best and most inspiring classes that I have taken in college. I did not really know what to expect when I came to this class but, how can one not be excited when your professor comes into class on the first day and says “Look around because some of you in this very room are going to start businesses that you will sell for millions of dollars”.

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Words of inspiration at the Stanford STVP office

Almost immediately, we learned that this class would be almost entirely group project based. We were each assigned a sticker and a name tag to demonstrate our skills and given 45 minutes to network with each other towards the end of class. Not since my freshmen year have I had to form a completely new team with people I don’t know.

With an incredible level of anxiety, I started talking to people. What if people didn’t like me? What if I would be stuck doing something that I really hate? Or even worse, what if I would be stuck without a team and would be force to drop this course? It had only been three days since classes had started. What was the professor even thinking?

I began to go up to people with a pounding heart and started talking to them. “Hi, my name is Adi, I am…” and I am fairly certain that I messed up with the first couple of people that I talked to. However, it got a little easier as I continued to talk to others. I was surprised by how comfortable everyone seemed to be and how open they were. This made me want to be more confident and I forced myself to stick around and talk to people, even after the official class time had ended. By the end of class, I had a number of people’s email addresses and phone numbers and I hope to connect with them soon.

Overall, it was an important learning experience for me. I do not yet have a concrete team but I have met enough people to know that many of them share similar ideas as I do and it should be possible to form a team or join one to work on a project that I would be interested in. I think that the biggest thing that I have gained from this experience is the confidence in being able to something similar in the future. I will probably be just as nervous if I have to do it again but I am reassured knowing that I can get through it with at least a little bit of success. Time to get back to people and try to get a team together!

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Learn at Stanford.

Current Stanford undergraduate and graduate students and visiting students from around the world are invited to experience the University’s fourth academic quarter.

Current Stanford Students

Continue learning throughout the summer. Registration is easy: visit Axess on April 9, 2017 to view courses and sign up. No separate application is required.

Visiting Domestic Students (U.S.)

Undergraduate and graduate students from around the world are invited to apply. Enjoy challenging academics, explore the Bay Area, and engage with top academics and industry leaders.

Visiting International Students

Students from six continents make our summer program truly international. We encourage all interested international students to apply.

International Honors Program (IHP) Students

Students from select universities around the world come to the Stanford campus to experience a transformative and global academic adventure.

Summer Online Students

Introducing Stanford Summer Online – experience a Stanford education anywhere in the world.

High School Students

Stanford High School Summer College (HSSC) is where exceptional students take Stanford undergraduate courses and earn college credit during the summer quarter.

Summer Courses

Over 170 courses are offered in 40 departments within the schools of Humanities and Sciences, Earth Sciences, and Engineering.

@StanfordSS