SHORT FICTION: The Art of the Tale


Final Assignment

Probably the most effective way to demonstrate your understanding of the short story form is to create a story yourself. For this assignment you will be writing an homage to one of the authors/stories we have read this semester.

Homage is a show or demonstration of respect or dedication to someone or something, sometimes by simple declaration but often by some more oblique reference, artistic or poetic. The term is often used in the arts for where one author or artist shows respect to another by allusion or imitation; this is often treated and pronounced as the French hommage.”

Your story should demonstrate ALL of the craft techniques displayed in published short stories: an understanding of plot {see Aristotle’s Plot Diagram or Freytag’s Plot Diagram}, character development {Be sure to use Forester’s methods of character development}, point of view {pick ONE point of view and stay in it throughout your story!}, and setting development {make certain your setting is integral to the story—readers should say that your story could not have taken place anywhere else!}, as well as a solid theme that is not clichéd or trite {the best themes arise from the story itself—you should NOT state your theme directly within the story!}. Your story should also use figurative language, imagery, and symbolism. In other words, you are trying not only to create a story that holds your reader’s interest, but that also CLEARLY demonstrates that you know the techniques required for literary short fiction.

Your Create Assignment should also include a 350 word Critical Reflection on the writing of your story which discusses the following:

  1. Your goals for this creative piece: What story are you trying to parody? Which elements of the story are you focusing on and attempting to draw attention to? Explain what you want your audience to experience through your parody.
  2. Your use of specific techniques to accomplish these goals: What story elements that have been discussed this semester (plot, character development, etc.) are you using to create this story?
  3. How and where do you see your story in conversation with the work you have chosen to parody? Do you think your work compliments or is critical certain elements of the story? Do you see your story challenging the existing story or collaborating with it? If so, how?

Your Critical Reflection will be worth 25% of the grade of your final writing assignment, so please be sure to take your time on this assignment and include it with your final draft.

A rough draft of this assignment will be due to the discussion board by the posted due date. You will then have one day to provide critical feedback to three of your peers, and then you will have to use that feedback to revise your final draft.

Let’s also try to remember that this is supposed to be a fictional writing assignment, and when we respond to our peers’ work, we should assume that it is fictional and not autobiographical.

I have provided several examples of successful parodies from previous semesters for you to see.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

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