Students in this course will study the different forms that fiction can take, notably the spectrum between “story collection” and “novel.” Located somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, the linked story collection goes by many names: story cycle, novel-in-stories, composite novels, the story sequence, etc. In linked story collections, stand-alone pieces are recognized as stories, not chapters. They are often published individually, but when read in the context of a book, linked as they are by setting, theme, characters, or geography, the stories gather cumulative meaning and the book assumes the kind of unity we ascribe to novels. Using a few of these books as models, students will complete a 35-50 manuscript that uses the form of the diptych=2, triptych=3, or tetratych=4, and so on. I hope that this will help you complete pages toward your thesis requirement at BSU. You should think of this course as a group independent study. You will be required to conceptualize your own project for the semester, articulate it to the group, and share your process with each other, working collectively to help each member reach her individual writing goals. We will also practice presenting our work in various online environments (via websites, blogs, and social media) in order to further professionalize ourselves as working writers in the 21st century.
What is a short story? And how is it different from a chapter? This is the best explanation I’ve found:
“Unlike longer fictions—even the most artful and word-conscious novels—short stories do not offer vicarious experience of a surrogate world. They haven’t the time. Rather, they put us through something…”
--Susan Lohafer, Coming to Terms with the Short Story