Instructor: Cesar Love
This class explores various narrative forms through which stories are told and teaches students both verbal and written story-telling skills. Individual class sessions examine the oral tradition of myths and ghost stories, as well as traditional genres of short fiction and poetry writing. Students will not only learn how to tell a good ghost story, but will also refine their ability to share personal anecdotes and tell jokes. The written component of this class addresses screenplay treatments, short stories, and lyrical poetry.
Week One: The Elements of a Good Yarn. Students will learn the skills needed to tell a gripping story. The elements of a compelling story will be presented. Students will be asked to tell an anecdote from their personal lives. They will be shown how to refine a common anecdote into an engaging narrative.
Recommended reading: Aristotle Poetics
Story Telling Open Mic at Farley’s Cafe
Week Two: The Archetypes of Myths. Students will learn the patterns of hero myths. The archetype of the hero will be explored, critiqued, and expanded. Students will be asked to tell stories about heroes, gods, or ghosts.
Recommended reading: Campbell, Joseph The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Alexie, Sherman The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Recommended film: Smoke Signals
Week Three: The Narrative of Film. Students will learn the basic structure of film screenplays, including plot points and inciting incidents. Students will have an in-class experience of writing a screenplay treatment.
Recommended reading: Field, Syd Screenplay: the Foundations of Screenwriting
Recommended film: Gods and Monsters
Week Four: The Narrative of Short Stories. Students will learn the various structures of the short story. Flash fiction and stories in the Twitter format will be explored. Students will have in-class experiences of writing and sharing short stories.
Week Five: Alternative Narratives. Non-traditional narratives of films will be explored. The non-narratives of lyric poetry will also be presented.
Recommended Reading: Danyger, Ken and Rush, Jeff Alternative Scriptwriting: Rewriting the Hollywood Formula