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Class Notes

ENGL 284

Table of contents
  1. Week 2 Tuesday
  2. Week 6 Thursday
  3. Week 7 Tuesday

Week 2 Tuesday

  • Saving Cat opening - character saves a cat, readers have investment.
  • Conflict - Crisis - Resolution. Hegelian triad, maybe even false Hegelian triad.
  • Fifth exit - passing opportunities for resolution. “Trying to subvert the expected.”
  • How can you take the next exit?
  • The day’s that different.

Week 6 Thursday

  • Summary, changing time - going between different temporalities
  • How to dilate and speed time to change perception and narrative structure?
  • Is summary an event?
  • Energy - tension and pace. What is the excitement, what is the spark? What propoels the reader forward? It is the result of textures, tensions, story paces.
  • Energy is the result of craft choices.
  • Energy changes the temporality of the writing.
  • Enery is not fixed - it’s a spectrum.
  • Knowing when to be low energy is as important as being high energy.
  • Sometimes cold, low energy scenes can generate tremendous tension, perhaps the highest tension, irreducible tension.
  • Principles of increased Energy: subject choice, sparky word choice, super-specifics, gaps and leaps
  • How to lower energy?
  • How to critically fulfill or subvert expectations?
  • Gap - leaping from one thing to anohter.
  • Format leaps - interrupts an expectation of consistency.
  • Dialogue leaps - what are they saying without saying?
  • Symbolic leap - connections between imagery, action, dialogue
  • Object leaps - disjunctures which force readers to bridge bizarre objects.
  • Relationship between the author and the reader: how much work does the reader have to do? How does the author guide the reader?

Week 7 Tuesday

  • Insight - fresh, thoughtful, necessary, a unique insight and point of view, which is different and adds.
  • Insight is the place where the writer, reader, and the story all meet.
  • How do we learn things as we read? We all gather meaning as we live.
  • How to understand characters as more deeply related to yourself.
  • Pushing the borders of tolerance
  • Complicating the expected is an act of insight.
  • Three pillars of insight - tension, yearning, subtext - pulse, ache, why?
  • Subtext - the underlying meaning is left unclear, in the negative space
  • Ache - we cannot delineate it until it is done.
  • Don’t preach, overwrite, overexplain.
  • Trust your reader, and trust yourself.