Section 1: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 1:00-1:50 PM

Professor: Sean Lovelace

Writers must know architecture. They must know scaffolding, design—we’re talking blueprints here. And then we must know even more: If your text is a house (or even a room), it isn’t good enough to simply develop a blueprint. We must also build the thing ourselves; we’re craftsmen, right? So we won’t forget the jambs, studs, wainscoting, shutters, chimney flashings, cripples, girders, sashes, balusters, risers, shoes, downspouts, and so on. In this class, from micro to macro, we are going to explore structure.

We will also write from the world around us.  Anything can provide a model for structure, as you will see in our readings:  John Mcphee uses the game of Monopoly; Gail Griffin uses shapes; Nancy Williford uses a deck of Tarot cards; Nicole Lamy uses photographs; Wendy Rawlings uses email; Michael Martone contributor notes; and Georges Perec uses the buildings, shops, gardens, and cobblestone alleyways of Paris. What will you use?

Reading is an element of writing, so we will read voraciously in this class. Our reading list will include The Next American Essay edited by John D’Agata, Reality Hunger by David Shields, and Additional material will be distributed via handout and online.  As we read, we will focus on structure in two ways: analyzing professional examples, and then creating our own work, using many of our readings as guides.


Over the course of the semester, you will write multiple flash fiction pieces, two short nonfiction pieces (3 pp), and one longer work. One of these texts will be work-shopped, and revised. Other requirements will include:  quizzes, exercises, short writing exercises, and critical reading responses.