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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

Made to Be Broken: Writing Experimental Fiction

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Made to be broken
Made to be broken


To experiment, by nature, means to accept the possibility of failure—the hypothesis may not be upheld. When authors experiment, they break the ‘rules’ of fiction or otherwise defy our expectations of what a story can be, sometimes to quite remarkable effect. In this six-week course, you will explore the craft of experimental fiction. In guided discussions, you will apply a critical eye to stories that test the boundaries of structure, narration, and even reality, seeking to articulate how and why these pieces succeed or fail. For instance, can a story take the shape of an index or a recipe? When can a narrator’s unreliability become an asset? Can a story truly be told in under 100 words? Through tailored exercises, you will apply experimental techniques and aesthetics to your own writing, developing fresh ideas and crafting non-traditional scenes. Classes will be based around examination of sample stories; the completion of writing prompts and activities; and workshops, in which you’ll have the option to share in-progress fiction with the group. The aim is for you to produce one revised story or a small portfolio of flash fiction by the end of the course. While there are no prerequisites, this course may be of particular interest to those who have already taken ‘Fiction Essentials’.

Course Information

Tutor: Alice Stinetorf

Dates: Tuesday 14th January – Tuesday 18th February 2020


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