OpenFiction [Blog]

Metafiction – Postmodern writing exercises

Posted in Uncategorized by scarsonmsm on July 15, 2005

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One of the truly wonderful things about Emerson’s graduate program is that most of the literature courses taught there are taught not for students of literature but for practitioners of the craft. The program takes something like fifty graduate writers in each year–some would say a few too many–but it means that the literature instruction is focused on helping writers to better understand writing.

A great example of this, which happily also intersects with open sharing of educational resources, is a course that’s been taught recently by DeWitt Henry. I was never able to squeeze in a course with DeWitt, but got to know him a little while I worked there, and he is well-respected and liked by faculty and students. The class covers various aspects of postmodern fiction, primarily through readings from an anthology. But since most of the student are writers, he’s able to assign them each two creative assignments, which he’s begun anthologizing online.

Given my focus on realist fiction, tOFP is also lucky that the students are assigned to create postmodern writing exercises, which I’d have to work at creating on my own. A section on writing postmodern fiction, or metafiction as the coursework calls it, would be an obvious and valuable counterpart to the Realism section of the Fiction & the Real World discussion unit.


2 Responses

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  1. Daniel E. King said, on May 22, 2006 at 10:22 am

    Are you a fan of metafictional work? You read any DFW or Tom Robbins?

  2. Stephen Carson said, on May 22, 2006 at 10:25 am


    Not so much really. I’m a classic case of “Do as I say not as I do.” I mostly read non-fiction, and only occasionally fiction directly related to my writing interests, which are much more along the lines of traditional realist fiction. I did read and enjoy Skinny Legs and All a while back…   I am a big fan of Don Quixote, which is (at least as I see it) solidly in this category.

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